Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism, and the Earnings Gap: Comment

20 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2011

See all articles by Jonah E. Rockoff

Jonah E. Rockoff

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mariesa A Herrmann

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Date Written: May 1, 2009

Abstract

In a recent paper, Ichino and Moretti (2009) present evidence from a large Italian bank that much of the gap in absenteeism between women and men can be explained by absences with a 28-day cycle. These cyclical absences are interpreted as an effect of menstruation which can explain 14% of the gender earnings gap. While the health consequences of menstruation are undeniable, the general importance of menstruation in explaining gender gaps in absenteeism and earnings is unclear. In this paper, we show that 28-day cycles do not explain any of the gender gap in absences among teachers in the New York City public schools. Our results suggest that menstruation may not be an important determinant of absences for a large segment of the female labor force and that institutions greatly influence how biological gender differences affect labor market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Rockoff, Jonah E. and Herrmann, Mariesa A, Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism, and the Earnings Gap: Comment (May 1, 2009). Columbia Business School Research Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1915433 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1915433

Jonah E. Rockoff (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

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New York, NY 10027
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Mariesa A Herrmann

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. ( email )

P.O. Box 2393
Princeton, NJ 08543-2393
United States
609-716-4544 (Phone)

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