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Why are Racial and Ethnic Wage Gaps Larger for Men than for Women? Exploring the Role of Segregation

  • Kimberly Bayard
  • Judith Hellerstein
  • David Neumark
  • Kenneth Troske

We examine the possible sources of the larger racial and ethnic wage gaps for men than for women in the U.S. Specifically, using a newly created employer-employee matched data set containing workers in essentially all occupations, industries, and regions, we examine whether these wage differences can be accounted for by differences between men and women in the patterns of racial and ethnic segregation within occupation, industry, establishments, and occupation-establishment cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper to examine segregation by race and ethnicity at the level of establishment and job cell. Our results indicate that greater segregation between Hispanic men and white men than between Hispanic women and white women accounts for essentially all of the higher Hispanic-white wage gap for men. In addition, our estimates indicate that greater segregation between black and white men than between black and white women accounts for a sizable share (one-third to one-half) of the higher black-white wage gap for men. Our results imply that segregation is an important contributor to the lower wages paid to black and Hispanic men than to white men with similar individual characteristics. Our results also suggest that equal pay types of laws may offer some scope for reducing the black-white wage differential for men the Hispanic-white wage differential for men.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6997.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6997
Note: LS
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  1. Derek A. Neal & William R. Johnson, 1995. "The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," NBER Working Papers 5124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Macpherson, David A & Hirsch, Barry T, 1995. "Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 426-71, July.
  3. Kimberly Bayard & Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth Troske, 2003. "New Evidence on Sex Segregation and Sex Differences in Wages from Matched Employee-Employer Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 887-922, October.
  4. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
  5. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  6. Kimberly Bayard & Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth R. Troske, 1999. "Why Are Racial And Ethnic Wage Gaps Larger For Men Than For Women? Exploring The Role Of Segregation Using The New Worker-Establishment Characteristics Database," Labor and Demography 9902002, EconWPA.
  7. Trejo, Stephen J, 1997. "Why Do Mexican Americans Earn Low Wages?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1235-68, December.
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