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How the Human Capital Model Explains Why the Gender Wage Gap Narrowed

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  • Polachek, Solomon

    () (Binghamton University, New York)

Abstract

This paper explores secular changes in women’s pay relative to men’s pay. It shows how the human capital model predicts a smaller gender wage gap as male-female lifetime work expectations become more similar. The model explains why relative female wages rose almost unabated from 1890 to the early-1990s in the United States (with the exception of about 1940-1980), and why this relative wage growth tapered off since 1993. In addition to the US, the paper presents evidence from nine other countries using data gleaned from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS).

Suggested Citation

  • Polachek, Solomon, 2004. "How the Human Capital Model Explains Why the Gender Wage Gap Narrowed," IZA Discussion Papers 1102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1102
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    Cited by:

    1. Ghazala Azmat & Maia Güell & Alan Manning, 2006. "Gender Gaps in Unemployment Rates in OECD Countries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 1-38, January.
    2. Solomon W. Polachek & Jun Xiang, 2009. "The Gender Pay Gap across Countries: A Human Capital Approach," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 227, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Erosa, Andres & Fuster, Luisa & Restuccia, Diego, 2016. "A quantitative theory of the gender gap in wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 165-187.
    4. Del Bono, Emilia & Vuri, Daniela, 2011. "Job mobility and the gender wage gap in Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 130-142, January.
    5. Oriel Sullivan, 2007. "Cultural voraciousness - A new measure of the pace of leisure in a context of 'harriedness'," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 4(1), pages 30-46, September.
    6. Alan Manning & Joanna Swaffield, 2008. "The gender gap in early-career wage growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 983-1024, July.
    7. Satvika Chalasani, 2007. "The changing relationship between parents’ education and their time with children," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 4(1), pages 93-117, September.
    8. Patricia Eilsberger & Markus Zwick, 2011. "Geschlechterspezifische Einkommensunterschiede bei Selbständigen als Freiberufler und Gewerbetreibende im Vergleich zu abhängig Beschäftigten – Ein empirischer Vergleich auf der Grundlage steuerstatis," FFB-Discussionpaper 93, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
    9. Jens Bonke & Frederik Gerstoft, 2007. "Stress, time use and gender," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 4(1), pages 47-68, September.
    10. Gabrielle Wanzenried, 2008. "How feminine is corporate America? A recent overview," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(2), pages 185-209, June.
    11. Hannu Piekkola & Liisa Leijola, 2007. "Time use and options for retirement in Europe," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, September.
    12. Monika Hjeds Löfmark, 2007. "Gender and time allocation differences in Taganrog, Russia," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 4(1), pages 69-92, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; wages; gender; secular trends;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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