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Topic 2 - Estimating the changing extent of gender discrimination Professor Christine Greenhalgh. P Cahuc and A Zylberberg (2004) Labor Economics, Chapter 5 Compensating Wage Differentials and Discrimination, part 4. 

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Topic 2 - Estimating the changing extent of gender discrimination Professor Christine Greenhalgh

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Topic 2 estimating the changing extent of gender discrimination professor christine greenhalgh l.jpg

Topic 2 - Estimating the changing extent of gender discriminationProfessor Christine Greenhalgh

P Cahuc and A Zylberberg (2004) Labor Economics, Chapter 5 Compensating Wage Differentials and Discrimination, part 4. 

A Manning (2003) Monopsony in Motion, Chapter 7: Gender Discrimination in Labor Markets.

A Manning and J Swaffield (2008), ‘The gender gap in early-career wage growth’, The Economic Journal Vol. 118 No. 530 July.

The Economic Journal (2008) Vol. 118 No. 526 February, Feature: Women’s Part-Time Work. This includes five articles examining several aspects of the topic. See especially the two articles by M Gregory and S Connolly and one by Manning and Petrongolo.


Gross pay gaps in europe source the guardian 16 march 2009 l.jpg

Gross pay gaps in EuropeSource The Guardian 16 March 2009


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Wage Differentials – Fair and Unfair

  • Cahuc and Zylberberg outline compensating differentials arising under perfect competition

  • Describe this as ‘Hedonic Theory of Wages’

  • In this case all differentials are fair rates

  • Monopsony can be serious barrier to operation of perfect competition – here differentials are not perfectly related to marginal productivity

  • But Manning in ‘Monopsony in Motion’ was unable to find dramatic differences in M and F labour supply elasticities to firms

  • Reason – two offsetting effects – F less likely search widely among employers, but F more likely to quit into non-participation


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Discrimination - Which gender pay gap to look at?

  • Many women take on the role of carers for children, disabled and elderly

  • Expect these women to have gaps in employment and/or to work part-time

  • Anticipation of events such as family formation can cause women to make

    • lower investments in human capital and

    • choices of occupations compatible with caring

  • Differences in current gross hourly earnings reflect these choices


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Gender differences in human capital investment

  • Experience accumulation is lower

  • On-the-job training may be below men

  • Pre- entry differences in quantity and type of formal education

  • Choice of first job indicative of future career

  • Survey evidence of ambition/attitudes to work


M f employment rates by age in 1979 2002 source see next slide l.jpg

M & F employment rates by age in 1979 & 2002 Source: see next slide


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Gender wage gaps by age and education 2002

Source: Previous

and this slide:

Data from UK LFS, as shown in H Robinson Ch 15 of The Labour Market Under New Labour, eds. Dickens, Gregg, Wadsworth 2003


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Gender segregation by Occupn. 2002


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Wage decomposition techniques

Estimating wage equations (hedonic)

ln w = xβ + eα + ε

w is hourly wage

x is vector of personal characteristics

e is vector of characteristics of job

ε is random error

β vector of coefficients on personal variables

α is vector of coefficients on job variables


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The Blinder-Oaxaca Method of Estimating Discrimination

  • Estimate separate wage equations for males M and females F

  • Simplify notation to include both x and e variables in X list

    ln w = X β + ε

  • Gap between male and female wages is due to differences in characteristics X

  • Plus differences in rewards for given X

    ln wM – ln wF = (XM – XF) βM + XF(βM - βF )

    Second element is estimate of discrimination D


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Measurement problems and alternative estimators

  • In wage regressions if have omitted characteristics such as motivation and commitment to career –> this would overstate D

  • If fewer very low paid women chose to work then don’t observe those with lowest wage offers –> this would understate D

  • Alternative direct estimators hard to find but Goldin and Rouse orchestra auditions is a classic controlled experiment

  • Introduction of ‘blind auditions’ in 1970s & 80s for major US symphony orchestras led to more women being hired


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Early evidence for the UKSource Greenhalgh EJ Vol.90 1980

Using Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition -

Unexplained differentials 1971

Married to single men 14%

Single men to single women24%

Single women to married women3%

Unexplained differentials 1975

Married to single men 10%

Single men to single women10%

Single women to married women12%


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Recent study of labour force entrants in 1990s

  • Manning and Swaffield EJ 2008 article

  • Uses BHPS data 1991-2002 (large representative dataset)

  • Gender pay gap on entry is zero – equality at the start

  • 10 years later gender pay gap has emerged during early careers

  • Gap continues to widen reaching a maximum at c. age 40

  • Later birth cohorts show smaller gaps than earlier ones but still significant


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How big is early career gap?

  • Early career = up to 10 years in labour force

  • Manning and Swaffield characterise wage gap after ten years as ‘25 log points’

  • Means that log ratio male to female wages is 0.25

  • Exponentiating gives the actual ratio as 1.28

  • So men’s wages have grown faster to reach level 28% above females by ten years after labour market entry


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What explains this early career gap?

Three broad factors:

  • Human capital differences

    Some women intermit or work part-time

    Do men also get more training?

  • Job-shopping

    Do men change jobs to find right niche?

  • Psychological differences

    Are men more ambitious?


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Decomposition Results(in log points)

  • Gap after ten years25

  • Human capital 11

    Work experience 6.5

    Training 4.5

  • Job shopping 1.5

  • Psychology 4.5

  • Unexplained 8


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Explaining gender differences in skills acquisition

  • Gender gap in training is driven by the pattern among the less skilled

  • More early school leaver men than women enter apprenticeships

  • Among graduates women get more training than men

  • Choices of entry occupations do differ but this is not the deciding factor for differences in wage growth (provided get training)


Changing attitudes to work source fortin in oxrep 2005 l.jpg

Changing attitudes to workSource Fortin in OXREP 2005


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The Work-Life Balancing Act

  • Gregory & Connolly EJ Feb 2008 title piece ‘The price of reconciliation…’

  • Good News

    • More women in further and higher education

    • Labour force attachment is strengthening

    • Moving into an expanding range of occupations

  • Bad News

    • Pay gap between Full- and Part-time women widening steadily

    • Part-time jobs polarised in low-paid occupations

    • Legislation does not address this inequality


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The Part-Time Pay PenaltyManning and Petrongolo EJ Feb2008

  • PTPP was 14% in 1975 rising to 28% in 1995 after which no clear trend

    Estimating the factors accounting for this gap

  • Can explain majority of gap using characteristics of person and of their job

  • Occupation is by far the biggest – explains 70%

    In rank order other characteristics are:

  • Education, Industry, Employer size and Region

  • Within occupations the part time pay penalty is quite small


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Moving Down – Part-Time Work and Occupational Change

  • Connolly and Gregory analyse women moving from FT to PT working

  • Look at average qualification level by occupation and rank jobs by skill level

  • Between 14% and 25% of women moving to PT work move to a lower skill occupation

  • Worst affected are former managers

  • Least affected are those staying with same employer

  • Downgrading constitutes a ‘hidden brain drain’


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Policy Options

Minimum Wages:

  • Since 1999 when UK MW was introduced can see small effects on wages of both FT and PT women

  • Relative gain for PT women very small

    Equal Treatment:

  • Legislation in 2000 ensures PT cannot be treated less favourably than FT

  • Not very effective because major gap is across occupations not within


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More Policy Options

Rights to Flexible Working:

  • From 2003 legislation requires employers to consider seriously requests to change hours

  • Applies only to parents of children aged < 6

  • Can refuse; some evidence higher paid women get more refusals

    Employer Reviews of Equal Pay

  • Government has encouraged employers to conduct reviews within organisations

  • So far this is voluntary


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Policy movement in the recession?

  • Article in The Guardian 16 March 2009: “Equal pay is a step too far in recession, says rights body” heading

  • Equalities and Human Rights Commission says equal pay reviews should not be forced on employers in recession, keep voluntary

  • TUC’s equality department begs to differ, saying pay audits are a crucial part of eliminating the pay gap

  • Unison (large public sector trade union) claims voluntary approach has not worked


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