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The gender income gap and the influence of family formation reconsidered


  • Ochsenfeld, Fabian


In her recent study Bobbitt-Zeher (2007) takes on the important task of identifying the contribution of educational factors relative to non-educational factors in the making of the gender income gap among the college-educated and finds that “family formation has virtually no effect on the income gap” (Ibid.:13). In this methodological comment we argue that she was led to this conclusion prematurely because her analysis falls short in several respects. We explicate the problems, delineate alternatives and replicate her analysis with similar German data. We find that each of the shortcomings leads to negative bias concerning the influence of family formation. Our results show that family formation is likely to be the single most important factor in the explanation of the income gap.

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  • Ochsenfeld, Fabian, 2012. "The gender income gap and the influence of family formation reconsidered," MPRA Paper 43205, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43205

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ben Jann, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for linear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 453-479, December.
    2. Laurie A. Morgan & Michelle M. Arthur, 2005. "Methodological Considerations in Estimating the Gender Pay Gap for Employed Professionals," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 33(3), pages 383-403, February.
    3. F. L. Jones & Jonathan Kelley, 1984. "Decomposing Differences between Groups," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 12(3), pages 323-343, February.
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    More about this item


    gender inequality; motherhood penalty; discrimination; regression analysis; decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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