Journal Article

Understanding the Gender Earnings Gap: Hours Worked, Occupational Sorting, and Labor Market Experience

Abstract: This article documents life-cycle gender differences in labor market outcomes using longitudinal data of a cohort of individuals from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. As in other datasets, the gender earnings gap increases with age. We find that hours worked and labor market experience are the most substantial observable variables in explaining the gender pay gap. We also focus on patterns in occupational changes over the life cycle, as a large part of pay growth occurs when workers change jobs. We find that college-educated men, on average, move into occupations with higher task complexity. We further show that women are less likely to change occupations. Moreover, on average, pay grows when workers change occupations, but the growth is smaller for women. Finally, we discuss theories that are consistent with the patterns we document.

Keywords: diversity; gender earnings gap; labor market outcomes;

JEL Classification: J16; J24; J31;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Part of Series: Review

Publication Date: 2021-04-15

Volume: 103

Issue: 2

Pages: 175-205