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Gender Wage Differentials in a Competitive Labor Market: The Household Interaction Effect

  • Francois, Patrick

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

  • van Ours, Jan C.

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

We present a theoretical explanation of the gender wage gap which turns on the interaction between men and women in households. In equilibria where men are over-represented in full-time work, we show that firms rationally choose to hire women only at strictly lower wages than men. The model developed predicts a gap even controlling for education, occupation and industry of workers and does so in a competitive labor market where there exist no inherent gender differences. We test our theory using CPS data over the period 1979-98 and find it is strongly supported by the data.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 202.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp202
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  1. Jeremy I. Bulow & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination and Keynesian Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Elaine Sorensen, 1990. "The Crowding Hypothesis and Comparable Worth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(1), pages 55-89.
  3. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  4. Paul Beaudry, 1994. "Entry Wages Signalling the Credibility of Future Wages: A Reinterpretation of the Turnover-Efficiency-Wage Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(4), pages 884-902, November.
  5. Paul R. Milgrom, 1984. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces and the Invisibility Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 708R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised 1985.
  6. Viscusi, W Kip, 1980. "Sex Differences in Worker Quitting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 388-98, August.
  7. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  8. Engineer, Merwan & Welling, Linda, 1999. "Human capital, true love, and gender roles: is sex destiny?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 155-178, October.
  9. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
  10. Bowlus, Audra J, 1997. "A Search Interpretation of Male-Female Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(4), pages 625-57, October.
  11. Gunderson, Morley, 1989. "Male-Female Wage Differentials and Policy Responses," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 46-72, March.
  12. Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, . "Race and Gender in the Labor Market," IPR working papers 98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  13. Patrick Francois, 1996. "A Theory of Gender Discrimination Based on the Household," Working Papers 929, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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