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Devaluation, crowding or skill specificity?: Exploring the mechanisms behind the lower wages in female professions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2013 (English)In: Social Science Research, ISSN 0049-089X, E-ISSN 1096-0317, Vol. 42, no 4, 1006-1017 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A conspicuous finding in research on the gender wage gap is that wages are related to the percentage females in an occupation (percent F). Three mechanisms have been suggested to explain this relationship: a devaluation of women's work, a crowding of women into a limited number of occupations, and a female disadvantage in the accumulation of specific human capital. In this analysis, based on data from the Swedish Level of Living Survey of 2000 (n = 2915), we distinguish between these mechanisms using measures of devaluation (Treiman's prestige scale), crowding (employee dependence on current employer) and specific human capital (on-the-job training). The results show that all the indicators are related to percent F, but not in a linear fashion, and that the percent F-effect on wages is overstated and misspecified. Female-dominated occupations stand out with lower wages than both male-dominated and gender-integrated occupations and this is not explained by any of our measures. Thus, if the hypotheses on segregation and wages should be sustained, they must be further specified and new measures must be found to prove their worth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 42, no 4, 1006-1017 p.
Keyword [en]
Gender wage gap, Occupational segregation, Crowding, Devaluation, Specific human capital, Multi-level analysis
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92507DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2013.03.001ISI: 000320292700003OAI: diva2:639783


Available from: 2013-08-09 Created: 2013-08-07 Last updated: 2013-08-09Bibliographically approved

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Magnusson, Charlotta
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