Are Gender Differences more Pronounced Across the Earnings Distribution?

Amelie Constant, IZA
Spyros Konstantopoulos, Northwestern University

This study examines gender differences in the earnings of young adults in the mid 1980s. We revisit this issue from a different perspective: we determine changes in the gender gap in the middle, the tails, and the variability of the earnings distribution. We employ data from a longitudinal, nationally probability sample of high school seniors: the National Longitudinal Study of high school seniors in 1972 and the 5th follow-up in 1986. We compute the average differences using effect size estimates expressed in standard deviation units. Differences in the tails and the variability are computed using number and variance ratios respectively. Our results indicate that there is a rather large and significant gender difference in earnings favoring males. The gender gap is more pronounce for Whites and Hispanics and less extreme for Blacks. Controlling for employment selection, education, occupation, marital status, family size, and hours of work we find that the gender gap in earnings closes somewhat. Nonetheless, the adjusted gender gap is still large and significant.

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Presented in Session 96: Gender and Earnings