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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 6 No. 2 (April 2014)

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Do Male-Female Wage Differentials Reflect Differences in the Return to Skill? Cross-City Evidence from 1980-2000

Article Citation

Beaudry, Paul, and Ethan Lewis. 2014. "Do Male-Female Wage Differentials Reflect Differences in the Return to Skill? Cross-City Evidence from 1980-2000." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(2): 178-94.

DOI: 10.1257/app.6.2.178

Abstract

Male-female wage gaps declined significantly over the 1980s and 1990s, while returns to education increased. In this paper, we use cross-city data to explore whether, like the return to education, the change in the gender wage gap may reflect changes in skill prices induced by the diffusion of information technology. We show that male-female and education-wage differentials moved in opposite directions in response to the adoption of PCs. Our most credible estimates simply that changes in skill prices driven by PC adoption can explain most of the decline in the US male-female wage gap since 1980.

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Online Appendix (333.03 KB) | Download Data Set (225.76 KB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (104.23 KB)

Authors

Beaudry, Paul (U British Columbia)
Lewis, Ethan (Dartmouth College)

JEL Classifications

J15: Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J31: Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
J71: Labor Discrimination
O33: Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
R23: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics

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