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Convergences in Men's and Women's Life Patterns: Lifetime Work, Lifetime Earnings, and Human Capital Investment

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Listed:
  • Jacobsen, Joyce P.

    () (Wesleyan University)

  • Khamis, Melanie

    () (Wesleyan University)

  • Yuksel, Mutlu

    () (Dalhousie University)

Abstract

The changes in women and men's work lives have been considerable in recent decades. Yet much of the recent research on gender differences in employment and earnings has been of a more snapshot nature rather than taking a longer comparative look at evolving patterns. In this paper, we use 50 years (1964-2013) of US Census Annual Demographic Files (March Current Population Survey) to track the changing returns to human capital (measured as both educational attainment and potential work experience), estimating comparable earnings equations by gender at each point in time. We consider the effects of sample selection over time for both women and men and show the rising effect of selection for women in recent years. Returns to education diverge for women and men over this period in the selection-adjusted results but converge in the OLS results, while returns to potential experience converge in both sets of results. We also create annual calculations of synthetic lifetime labor force participation, hours, and earnings that indicate convergence by gender in worklife patterns, but less convergence in recent years in lifetime earnings. Thus, while some convergence has indeed occurred, the underlying mechanisms causing convergence differ for women and men, reflecting continued fundamental differences in women's and men's life experiences.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacobsen, Joyce P. & Khamis, Melanie & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2014. "Convergences in Men's and Women's Life Patterns: Lifetime Work, Lifetime Earnings, and Human Capital Investment," IZA Discussion Papers 8425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8425
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 11230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 76-108, Part II, .
    3. Marigee P. Bacolod & Bernardo S. Blum, 2010. "Two Sides of the Same Coin: U.S. "Residual" Inequality and the Gender Gap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
    4. Goldin, Claudia & Polachek, Solomon, 1987. "Residual Differences by Sex: Perspectives on the Gender Gap in Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 143-151, May.
    5. O'Neill, June & Polachek, Solomon, 1993. "Why the Gender Gap in Wages Narrowed in the 1980s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 205-228, January.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:789-865 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2017. "The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(3), pages 789-865, September.
    3. Kunze, Astrid, 2014. "The family gap in career progression," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 29/2014, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    4. Boll Christina & Wolf André & Rossen Anja, 2017. "The EU Gender Earnings Gap: Job Segregation and Working Time as Driving Factors," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 237(5), pages 407-452, October.
    5. repec:jid:journl:y:2017:v:25:i:1:p:1-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Christina Boll & Malte Jahn & Andreas Lagemann, 2017. "The gender lifetime earnings gap—exploring gendered pay from the life course perspective," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 25(1), pages 1-53, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender earnings gap; lifetime work; lifetime earnings; human capital investment;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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