Sources of the Gender Wage Gap in a New Zealand Birth Cohort

By Gibb, Sheree J.; Fergusson, David M. et al. | Australian Journal of Labour Economics, September 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

Sources of the Gender Wage Gap in a New Zealand Birth Cohort


Gibb, Sheree J., Fergusson, David M., Horwood, L. John, Australian Journal of Labour Economics


Abstract

The gender wage gap is a well-established finding that has been observed in a range of different societies. This paper examined the sources and composition of the gender wage gap in a New Zealand birth cohort of 30 year-olds. Prior to adjustment for explanatory variables, male wages were 38.0 per cent higher than female wages. After adjustment for human capital endowments, job characteristics and family responsibilities, there remained an unexplained gender wage gap of 11.5 per cent. Decomposition of the gender wage gap revealed that 66.4 per cent of the total gender wage gap could be explained by gender differences in human capital, job characteristics and family factors. These results suggest that, even after accounting for gender differences in a wide range of explanatory variables, males continue to earn significantly higher wages than females.

1. Introduction

One of the more well-established findings of labour economics is that women tend to earn less then men (for examples, see Joshi and Paci 1998; Stanley and Jarrell 1999; Blau and Kahn 2000; Weichselbaumer and Winter-Ebmer 2005). This gender gap in wages has been reported in a range of different countries and has been the subject of substantial theorising and debate (Dixon 2000; Drolet 2001; Siphambe and Thokweng-Bakwena 2001; Kidd and Shannon 2002; Rubery et al., 2005; Weichselbaumer and Winter-Ebmer 2005; Daly et al., 2006).

Broadly speaking there are two general explanations of the gender wage gap. The first set of explanations centres around gender differences in the levels of work-related and non-work-related factors including: education; hours worked; employment history; job experience; commitments to parenting; and other such factors. These explanations share the common theme that gender differences in wages are explained by gender differences in life circumstances, choices and career trajectories. They imply that men and women have different wages because of gender-related factors that influence the nature and extent of participation in paid employment. However, an alternative and more subtle explanation of the gender wage gap is that gender differences in wages arise because women with identical characteristics and circumstances to men nonetheless earn lower wages than men. In contrast to the first explanation which focuses on the role of gender differences in life circumstances, choices and career trajectories, this second explanation suggests the presence of discriminatory practices within the labour market that either mitigate against female wages or promote male wages.

The ways in which these different factors contribute to the gender wage gap is addressed by the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition technique (Blinder 1973; Oaxaca 1973), which is described in detail in section two of this paper. For the most part, previous studies that have examined the gender wage gap using the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method have reported that a substantial proportion of the gender wage gap can be explained by gender differences in human capital characteristics, job characteristics, and family responsibilities, although a smaller unexplained gender gap remains even after accounting for gender differences in these factors (for example, see O'Neill 2003; Blau and Kahn 2007; Joshi et al., 2007, see section two for discussion of previous studies). However, it is not clear to what extent the results of these studies generalise to the New Zealand context. Few previous studies have used the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method to examine the gender wage gap in New Zealand, and the few studies that have done so have had limitations. Specifically, previous New Zealand studies have used samples that are not representative of the general New Zealand labour market, have used imputed measures of work experience, and have used wage measures from the late 1990s, since which time there have been changes in the characteristics of individuals entering the New Zealand labour market (see section two for a detailed discussion of previous New Zealand research and its limitations). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sources of the Gender Wage Gap in a New Zealand Birth Cohort
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.