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Journal Article

Explaining Occupational Sex Segregation and Wages: Findings from a Model with Fixed Effects

Paula England, George Farkas, Barbara Stanek Kilbourne and Thomas Dou
American Sociological Review
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Aug., 1988), pp. 544-558
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095848
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Explaining Occupational Sex Segregation and Wages: Findings from a Model with Fixed Effects
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Abstract

Does segregation arise because "female" occupations have financial advantages for women planning to spend some time as homemakers, as human-capital theorists claim? Do "male" occupations have more onerous working conditions that explain their higher earnings, as the neoclassical notion of "compensating differentials" suggests? Or do female occupations have low wages that are depressed by the sort of discrimination at issue in "comparable worth," as sociologists have argued? To answer these questions, we use a model with fixed effects to predict the earnings of young men and women from a pooled cross-section time-series of the National Longitudinal Survey. Analyses are undertaken for both blacks and whites. A fixed-effects model is useful for answering these questions because it corrects for the selection bias that results from the tendency of persons who differ on stable characteristics that are unmeasured but affect earnings to select themselves into different occupations. We find little evidence that female occupations provide either low penalties for intermittent employment or high starting wages, the advantages human capital theorists have argued them to have. Rather, there is evidence of pay discrimination against men and women in predominantly female occupations. Implications for economic and sociological theories of labor markets are discussed.

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