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Gender Composition and Wages: Why is Canada different from the United States?

  • Michael Baker
  • Nicole M. Fortin

The correlation of occupational gender composition and wages is the basis of pay equity/comparable worth legislation. A number of previous studies have examined this correlation in US data, identifying some of the determinants of low wages in ``female jobs'', as well as important limitations of public policy in this area. There is little evidence, however, from other jurisdictions. This omission is particularly disturbing in the case of Canada, which now has some of the most extensive pay equity legislation in the world. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive picture, circa the late 1980's, of the occupational gender segregation in Canada and its consequences for wages. We also draw explicit comparisons of our findings to evidence for the United States. We find that the link between female wages and gender composition is much stronger in the United States than in Canada, where it is generally small and not statistically significant. The relatively more advantageous position of women in female jobs in Canada is found to be linked to higher unionization rates and the industry-wage effects of ``public goods'' sectors.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number baker-98-02.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 11 Sep 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:baker-98-02
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
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  1. Reilly, K.T. & Wirjanto, T.S., 1998. "Does More Mean Less? The Male/Female Wage Gap and the Proportion of Female at the Establishment Level," Papers 98-04, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  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. Kenneth R Troske & William J Carrington, 1992. "Gender Segregation Small Firms," Working Papers 92-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised May 1993.
  4. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  5. John DiNardo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1995. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," NBER Working Papers 5093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. William J. Carrington & Kenneth R. Troske, 1995. "Gender Segregation in Small Firms," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 503-533.
  7. Mark R. Killingsworth, 1990. "The Economics of Comparable Worth," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ecw, April.
  8. Denise J. Doiron & W. Craig Riddell, 1994. "The Impact of Unionization on Male-Female Earnings Differences in Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 504-534.
  9. Johnson, George & Solon, Gary, 1986. "Estimates of the Direct Effects of Comparable Worth Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1117-25, December.
  10. Riddell, W.C., 1993. "Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries," Papers 1993-1, Queen's at Kingston - Sch. of Indus. Relat. Papers in Industrial Relations.
  11. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
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