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The gender pay gap in the USA: a matching study

Katie Meara (), Francesco Pastore () and Allan Webster ()
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Katie Meara: Bournemouth University
Allan Webster: Bournemouth University

Journal of Population Economics, 2020, vol. 33, issue 1, No 8, 305 pages

Abstract: Abstract This study examines the gender wage gap in the USA using two separate cross-sections from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The extensive literature on this subject includes wage decompositions that divide the gender wage gap into “explained” and “unexplained” components. One of the problems with this approach is the heterogeneity of the sample data. In order to address the difficulties of comparing like with like, this study uses a number of different matching techniques to obtain estimates of the gap. By controlling for a wide range of other influences, in effect, we estimate the direct effect of simply being female on wages. However, a number of other factors, such as parenthood, gender segregation, part-time working, and unionization, contribute to the gender wage gap. This means that it is not just the core “like for like” comparison between male and female wages that matters but also how gender wage differences interact with other influences. The literature has noted the existence of these interactions, but precise or systematic estimates of such effects remain scarce. The most innovative contribution of this study is to do that. Our findings imply that the idea of a single uniform gender pay gap is perhaps less useful than an understanding of how gender wages are shaped by multiple different forces.

Keywords: Gender wage gap; Part-time work; Gender segregation; Unionization; Sample selection bias; Matching; Inverse probability weighted regression adjustment estimator (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C31 J16 J31 K38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s00148-019-00743-8

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