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Mind the Gap: Essays on Explanations of Gender Wage Inequality
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The gender wage gap is accounted for to a substantial degree by the sex composition of occupations. The present thesis examines the mechanisms that produce this pattern. In particular, the theory of devaluation, currently the most widely accepted sociological explanation, is tested. The empirical findings, reported in three self-contained essays, question this line of explanation. All results are based on Swedish data: the Level of Living surveys (LNU; essays I and II) and administrative labour market registers (essay III).

In Essay I the association between occupational prestige and occupational sex composition is examined. The association is non-linear, with gender mixed occupations having the highest prestige. Further, care work does not have lower prestige than other kinds of work. These results are inconsistent with expectations derived from devaluation theory. The analysis also shows that the wage returns to occupational prestige are lower for women than for men.

Essay II examines why women receive relatively low returns to prestige. Family related factors are shown to be crucial. The gender difference in pay-off to prestige is thus marked among married/cohabiting employees with children but insignificant among singles as well as among childless married/cohabiting women and men. The gender wage gap in high-prestige occupations is largely due to differences between women and men in work characteristics difficult to reconcile with family duties.

In essay III the functional form of the relation between wages and occupational sex composition is investigated. In the cross-section gender mixed occupations have the highest wages. Panel data tend to confirm this pattern: mobility from strongly male or female dominated occupations to more gender mixed occupations is associated with relatively high rates of wage growth. Further, there is a wage premium for care work but a wage penalty for other service work. These findings do not support devaluation theory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University , 2010. , 45 p.
Series
Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 78
Keyword [en]
Gender wage gap, labour market, occupational prestige, devaluation theory, work-family balance, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-34058ISBN: 978-91-7155-992-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-34058DiVA: diva2:284166
Public defence
2010-02-19, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. 3: Accepted.

Available from: 2010-01-28 Created: 2010-01-04 Last updated: 2013-08-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Gender, Occupational Prestige, and Wages: A Test of Devaluation Theory
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender, Occupational Prestige, and Wages: A Test of Devaluation Theory
2009 (English)In: European Sociological Review, ISSN 0266-7215, E-ISSN 1468-2672, Vol. 25, no 1, 87-101 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Devaluation theory's basic assumption is that women are culturally devalued in society. As a consequence, female occupations and tasks are assumed to be less valued than are male tasks. Previous empirical research has found that the proportion females in an occupation has a net negative effect on wages. Less documented, however, is the relation between occupational sex composition and occupational prestige. By analysing whether the female share of an occupation or feminine work is negatively associated with occupational prestige, devaluation theory may be more directly tested than when using wages as the outcome variable. In addition, the article examines whether differences in occupational prestige account for part of the wage effect of sex composition, and whether women, relative to men, receive lower wage rewards for attained prestige. Analyses on Swedish data show that the association between the proportion females in an occupation and occupational prestige is non-linear. Mixed occupations (41–60 per cent female) have the highest prestige. Further, work generally done by women—care work—does not have lower prestige in society than other tasks. These findings do not support devaluation theory. The analysis also shows that women receive lower wage returns than do men to attained occupational prestige.

Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-18403 (URN)10.1093/esr/jcn035 (DOI)000262719400007 ()
Available from: 2009-01-26 Created: 2009-01-26 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. More Women, Lower Pay? Occupational sex composition, wages and wage growth
Open this publication in new window or tab >>More Women, Lower Pay? Occupational sex composition, wages and wage growth
2013 (English)In: Acta Sociologica, ISSN 0001-6993, E-ISSN 1502-3869, Vol. 56, no 3, 227-245 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research consistently shows that the share of females in an occupation is negatively associated with wages, and this has frequently been interpreted as an expression of devaluation of women’s work. However, few studies have described the detailed shape of     the relationship between wages and occupational sex composition. Using Swedish register data from 2001 and 2003, I advance our understanding of the devaluation process by studying the functional form more closely in both the cross-section and panel.                     The analyses reveal a non-linear relationship between sex composition and wages, where the highest wages for both men and women are earned in sex-integrated occupations. Second, studying the wage payoffs of people moving across occupations with varying sex compositions shows that both sexes gain by moving to relatively sex-integrated occupations (about 25 to 54% female).

Keyword
devalutation theory, gender wage gap, mobility, occupational sex composition, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92342 (URN)10.1177/0001699313484480 (DOI)000321491900003 ()
Available from: 2013-07-31 Created: 2013-07-31 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Why is there a Gender Wage Gap According to Occupational Prestige?: An Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap by Occupational Prestige and Family Obligations in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Why is there a Gender Wage Gap According to Occupational Prestige?: An Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap by Occupational Prestige and Family Obligations in Sweden
2010 (English)In: Acta Sociologica, ISSN 0001-6993, E-ISSN 1502-3869, Vol. 53, no 2, 99-117 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies have shown that women receive lower wage returns to attained occupational prestige than do men. In this article I examine whether the gender difference in wage return for attained occupational prestige can be explained by men’s and women’s different family obligations, and whether gender differences in work characteristics, which are difficult to combine with family duties, account for some of the gender wage gap in returns for attained occupational prestige. If women’s family obligations were a major cause of women’s disadvantage, the negative interaction between women and occupational prestige with regard to wages would be larger for mothers and married/cohabiting women than for single women without children. Results show a gender wage gap between married/cohabiting men and women with children that grow with occupational prestige. However, the interaction between gender and prestige is insignificant among single women and men and among married/cohabiting respondents without children. Furthermore, when controlling for time-consuming work, the gender wage gap for married/cohabiting respondents with children according to occupational prestige narrows, especially in occupations with high prestige.

Keyword
gender wage gap, labour market, motherhood penalty, occupational prestige, work characteristic, work-family balance
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-34082 (URN)10.1177/0001699310365627 (DOI)000279377700001 ()
Available from: 2010-01-04 Created: 2010-01-04 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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