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Job tasks, computer use, and the decreasing part-time pay penalty for women in the UK

  • Elsayed A.E.A.
  • Fouarge D.
  • Grip A. de


Using data from the UK Skills Surveys, we show that the part-time pay penalty for female workers within low- and medium-skilled occupations decreased significantly over the period 1997-2006. The convergence in computer use between part-time and full-time workers within these occupations explains a large share of the decrease in the part-time pay penalty. However, the lower part-time pay penalty is also related to lower wage returns to reading and writing which are performed more intensively by full-time workers. Conversely, the increasing returns to influencing has increased the part-time pay penalty despite the convergence in the influencing task input between part-time and full-time workers. The relative changes in the input and prices of computer use and job tasks together explain more than 50 percent of the decrease in the part-time pay penalty.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE) in its series Research Memorandum with number 011.

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Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unm:umagsb:2014011
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  1. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:4:p:1279-1333 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
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  4. Karen Mumford & Peter N. Smith, 2009. "What determines the part-time and gender earnings gaps in Britain: evidence from the workplace," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages i56-i75, April.
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  9. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1992. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Learning from International Comparisons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 533-38, May.
  10. Booth, Alison L. & van Ours, Jan C., 2010. "Part-Time Jobs: What Women Want?," IZA Discussion Papers 4686, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Elias, Peter & McKnight, Abigail, 2001. "Skill Measurement in Official Statistics: Recent Developments in the UK and the Rest of Europe," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 508-40, July.
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  13. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Ronald L. Oaxaca & Nina Smith, 2006. "Swimming upstream, floating downstream: Comparing women's relative wage progress in the United States and Denmark," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(2), pages 243-266, January.
  14. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333.
  15. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435.
  16. Lindley, Joanne, 2012. "The gender dimension of technical change and the role of task inputs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 516-526.
  17. Sara Connolly & Mary Gregory, 2009. "The part-time pay penalty: earnings trajectories of British Women," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages i76-i97, April.
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