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Does the Level of Occupational Aggregation Affect Estimates of the Gender Wage Gap?

Michael P Kidd () and Michael Shannon

ILR Review, 1996, vol. 49, issue 2, 317-329

Abstract: The traditional decomposition of the gender wage gap distinguishes between a component attributable to gender differences in productivity-related characteristics and a residual component that is often taken as a measure of discrimination. This study of data from the 1989 Canadian Labour Market Activity Survey shows that when occupation is treated as a productivity-related characteristic, the proportion of the gender wage gap labeled explained increases with the number of occupational classifications distinguished. However, on the basis of evidence that occupational differences reflect the presence of barriers faced by women attempting to enter male-dominated occupations, the authors conclude that occupation should not be treated as a productivity-related characteristic; and in a decomposition of the gender wage gap that treats occupation as endogenously determined, they find that the level of occupational aggregation has little effect on the size of the “explained†component of the gap.

Date: 1996
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