Distributional Changes in the Gender Wage Gap, 1994-2007

Mathias Sinning 1, Sonja Kassenboehmer1
1ANU, Australia, 2RWI, Germany

This paper analyzes changes in wage differentials between white men and white women along the entire wage distribution using the 1994 and 2007 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). We decompose distributional changes in the gender wage gap to assess the contribution of observed characteristics measuring individual productivity. We find that the gender wage gap narrowed by more than 20 percent at the lowest decile and by less than 4 percent at the highest decile. The decomposition results indicate that changes in the gender wage gap may be attributed entirely to changes in educational attainment at the top of the wage distribution, while a sizeable part of the changes is due to work history changes at the bottom.

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