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Swimming Upstream, Floating Downstream: Comparing Women's Relative Wage Positions in the U.S. and Denmark

  • Datta Gupta, Nabanita

    ()

    (Aarhus University)

  • Oaxaca, Ronald L.

    ()

    (University of Arizona)

  • Smith, Nina

    ()

    (Aarhus University)

We compare how U.S. and Danish gender wage gaps have developed between 1983 and 1995 using U.S. PSID and Danish Longitudinal Sample data. Using a new decomposition method, we show that changes in returns to observable skills and ranking effects outweigh women’s gains due to qualifications and account for a rising gap in Denmark, while these effects cannot counter the large decline in the wage gap in the U.S. in this period. Increased wage dispersion has a minimal effect on the gap in both countries. Women at the highest decile in Denmark face the biggest increase in the gap, while in the U.S., the decline is largest at the top and at the middle of the distribution.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 756.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2006, 59 (2), 243-266
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp756
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  1. Ronald L. Oaxaca & Michael R. Ransom, 1999. "Identification in Detailed Wage Decompositions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 154-157, February.
  2. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
  3. Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1996. "Rank Regressions, Wage Distributions and the Gender Gap," Cahiers de recherche 9607, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  4. Gubta, Nabanita Datta & Smith, Nina, 2000. "Children and Career Interruptions: The Family Gap in Denmark," CLS Working Papers 00-3, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research.
  5. Blackaby, D. H. & Murphy, P. D. & O'Leary, N. C., 1999. "The payment of public sector workers in the UK: reconciliation with North American findings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 239-243, November.
  6. Edin, Per-Anders & Richardson, Katarina, 1999. "Swimming with the tide: solidarity wage policy and the gender earnings gap," Working Paper Series 1999:3, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  7. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
  8. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1992. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Learning from International Comparisons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 533-38, May.
  9. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 106-144, January.
  10. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
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