Swimming upstream, floating downstream: Comparing women's relative wage progress in the United States and Denmark

Nabanita Datta Gupta, Ronald L. Oaxaca, Nina Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Applying a new decomposition method to U.S. PSID and Danish Longitudinal Sample data, the authors compare how U.S. and Danish gender wage gaps developed between 1983 and 1995. In Denmark, they find, the wage gap widened, because the worsening in women's relative returns to observable human capital attributes, as well as in their ranking relative to men in unobservable productive attributes, more than offset their wage gains from improved observable qualifications relative to men's. In the United States, in contrast, the gender convergence in qualifications offset adverse influences, including increasing wage dispersion throughout the labor market, to result in a narrowing of the gap. The largest increase in the gap in Denmark was experienced by women in the top earnings decile, and the largest decline in the gap in the United States affected those at the top and in the middle of the distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-266
Number of pages24
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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