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The Effects of Rising Female Labor Supply on Male Wages

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  • Chinhui Juhn
  • Dae Il Kim

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which rapid increases in female labor supply contributed to rising wage inequality and to declining real wages of less skilled males during the 1980s. We find that while the male wage declines are concentrated in the 1980s, female labor supply growth slowed in the 1980s relative to the 1970s. Women also increased the relative supply of skill in the economy in the 1980s. We find these findings to be inconsistent with a simple story in which supply shifts among women have played a major role. Instead, they further support the view that demand shifts, rather than supply shifts, have been the underlying cause of declining opportunities for less skilled males and rapid inequality growth in the 1980s. We also use state and SMSA-level data to estimate cross- substitution effects between men and women of different skill types. We find weak evidence that women may be substitutes for high school dropout men and that college educated women may have contributed to wage inequality growth by being better substitutes for high school dropout men than high school graduate men. We end with some suggestive evidence that unmeasured demand shifts which favored skilled female workers over less skilled male workers may be biasing our results towards finding substitution between these two groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Chinhui Juhn & Dae Il Kim, 1995. "The Effects of Rising Female Labor Supply on Male Wages," NBER Working Papers 5236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5236
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    Cited by:

    1. Casey B. Mulligan & Yona Rubinstein, 2004. "The Closing of the Gender Gap as a Roy Model Illusion," NBER Working Papers 10892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Etienne Wasmer, 2009. "Links between labor supply and unemployment: theory and empirics," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 773-802, July.
    4. Peter Kuhn (McMaster), "undated". "Labour Market Polarization: Canada in International Perspective," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 02, McMaster University.
    5. Magnus Gustavsson & Pär Österholm, 2007. "Does Unemployment Hysteresis Equal Employment Hysteresis?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(261), pages 159-173, June.
    6. Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter & Weinberg,Bruce, 2005. "People People: Social Capital and the Labor-Market Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups," ROA Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    7. Bruce Weinberg, 1998. "Computer Use and the Demand for Women Workers," Working Papers 98-06, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
    8. Robert H. Topel, 1997. "Factor Proportions and Relative Wages: The Supply-Side Determinants of Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 55-74, Spring.
    9. Székely,Miguel & Karver,Jonathan George, 2015. "Youth out of school and out of work in Latin America : a cohort approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7421, The World Bank.
    10. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004. "Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
    11. Sonia Oreffice, 2007. "Did the legalization of abortion increase women’s household bargaining power? Evidence from labor supply," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 181-207, June.
    12. Sotomayor, Orlando J., 2009. "Changes in the Distribution of Household Income in Brazil: The Role of Male and Female Earnings," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1706-1715, October.
    13. Casey B. Mulligan & Yona Rubinstein, 2005. "Selection, Investment, and Women's Relative Wages Since 1975," NBER Working Papers 11159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:eee:chieco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:67-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. SAAD-LESSLER, Joelle, 2008. "Labor Market Adjustment In The Us," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 8(2), pages 29-50.
    16. Gustavsson, Magnus, 2004. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings: Evidence from Sweden 1960-1990 and a Comparison with the United States," Working Paper Series 2004:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    17. Edo, Anthony & Toubal, Farid, 2017. "Immigration and the gender wage gap," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 196-214.
    18. Rebecca M. Blank & Heidi Shierholz, 2006. "Exploring Gender Differences in Employment and Wage Trends Among Less-Skilled Workers," NBER Working Papers 12494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Vere, James P, 2005. "Education, Development, and Wage Inequality: The Case of Taiwan," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 711-735, April.
    20. David S. Loughran, 2000. "Does Variance Matter? The Effect of Rising Male Inequality on Female Age at First Marriage," Working Papers 00-12, RAND Corporation.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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