Wage Gaps And Demographic Behavior Essay

1964 words - 8 pages

Wage Gaps and Demographic Behavior
*Works Cited Not Included
We examine the possible sources of the larger racial and ethnic wage gaps for men than for women in the U.S. Specifically, using a newly created employer-employee matched data set containing workers in essentially all occupations, industries, and regions, we examine whether these wage differences can be accounted for by differences between men and women in the patterns of racial and ethnic segregation within occupation, industry, establishments and occupation-establishment cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper to examine segregation by race and ethnicity at the level of establishment and job cell. Our results indicate that greater segregation between Hispanic men and white men than between Hispanic women and white women accounts for essentially all of the higher Hispanic-white wage gap for men. In addition, our estimates indicate that greater segregation between black and white men than between black and white women accounts for a sizable share (one-third to one-half) of the higher black-white wage gap for men. Our results imply that segregation is an important contributor to the lower wages paid to black and Hispanic men than to white men with similar individual characteristics. Our results also suggest that equal pay types of laws may offer some scope for reducing the black-white wage differential for men, but little scope for reducing the Hispanic-white wage differential for men.

I. Introduction

Labor economists have long been occupied with explorations of the sources of wage differences by sex, race, and ethnicity. It is well known that wages earned by minorities and by females fall short of wages earned by white males, after accounting for differences in standard human capital proxies and other variables for which measures are readily available in many micro-level data sets (schooling, age or experience, marital status, urban residence, region, etc.).

Aside from this general fact, an additional fact about racial and ethnic wage gaps is that they are considerably larger for men than for women. This is true in the raw data, as well as once we account for numerous determinants of wages or earnings. For example, based on 1981 CPS data, Cain (1986, Table 13.4) reports that for all workers, black-white earnings ratios are 0.67 for men vs. 0.97 for women, while Hispanic-white earnings ratios are 0.72 for men and 0.90 for women. For full-time, year-round workers, black-white earnings ratios are 0.69 for men vs. 0.90 for women, while Hispanic-white earnings ratios are 0.72 for men and 0.87 for women.(1) As a second example, as we report later in this paper, in log wage regressions including controls for schooling, age, etc., based on the 1990 Census of Population, the estimated black-white (actually, black vs. non-black, non-Hispanic) earnings differential is -0.121 for men vs. -0.022 for women, while the Hispanic-white differential is -0.115 for men vs....

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