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Bargaining and the Gender Wage Gap: A Direct Assessment

  • Card, David

    ()

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Cardoso, Ana Rute

    ()

    (IAE Barcelona (CSIC))

  • Kline, Patrick

    ()

    (University of California, Berkeley)

An influential recent literature argues that women are less likely to initiate bargaining with their employers and are (often) less effective negotiators than men. We use longitudinal wage data from Portugal, matched to balance sheet information on employers, to measure the relative bargaining power of men and women and assess the impact of the gender gap in bargaining strength on the male-female wage gap. We show that a model with additive fixed effects for workers and gender-specific fixed effects for firms provides a close approximation to the wage structure for both men and women. Building on this model we present three complementary approaches to identifying the impact of differential bargaining strength. First, we perform a simple decomposition by assigning the firm-specific wage premiums for one gender to the other. Second, we relate the wage premiums for men and women to measures of employer profitability. Third, we show that changes in firm-specific profitability have a smaller effect on the wage growth of female than male employees. All three approaches suggest that women are paid only 85-90% of the premiums that men earn at more profitable firms. Overall, we estimate that the shortfall in women‘s relative bargaining power explains around 3 percentage points – or 10-15% – of the gender wage gap in Portugal.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7592.

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Length: 69 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Bargaining, sorting, and the gender wage gap: Quantifying the impact of firms on the relative pay of women' in: Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2016, 131 (2), 633-686 [Online First]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7592
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  1. Van Reenen, John, 1994. "The Creation and Capture of Rents: Wages and Innovation in a Panel of UK Companies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Oskar Nordström Skans & Per-Anders Edin & Bertil Holmlund, 2007. "Wage dispersion between and within plants: Sweden 1985-2000," NBER Working Papers 13021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan & Torero, Maximo & Vesterlund, Lise, 2013. "Gender differences in bargaining outcomes: A field experiment on discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 35-48.
  4. Bowles, Hannah Riley & Babcock, Linda & McGinn, Kathleen L., 2005. "Constraints and Triggers: Situational Mechanics of Gender in Negotiation," Working Paper Series rwp05-051, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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  8. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
  9. Wood, Robert G & Corcoran, Mary E & Courant, Paul N, 1993. "Pay Differences among the Highly Paid: The Male-Female Earnings Gap in Lawyers' Salaries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 417-41, July.
  10. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-44, September.
  11. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  12. Cardoso, Ana Rute & Guimaraes, Paulo & Portugal, Pedro, 2012. "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 7109, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  14. Card, David & Devicienti, Francesco & Maida, Agata, 2011. "Rent-Sharing, Hold-up, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6086, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Nekby, Lena, 2003. "Gender differences in rent sharing and its implications for the gender wage gap, evidence from Sweden," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 403-410, December.
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  17. Karen Mumford & Peter N. Smith, 2009. "What determines the part-time and gender earnings gaps in Britain: evidence from the workplace," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages i56-i75, April.
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