Mind the Gap: Essays on Explanations of Gender Wage Inequality
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
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.
, Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 78
Gender wage gap, labour market, occupational prestige, devaluation theory, work-family balance, Sweden
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-34058ISBN: 978-91-7155-992-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-34058DiVA: diva2:284166
2010-02-19, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Birkelund, Gunn Elisabeth, Professor
Tåhlin, Michael, ProfessorStern, Charlotta, Docent
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. 3: Accepted.2010-01-282010-01-042013-08-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers