Gender Gaps and the Rise of the Service Economy

48 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014

See all articles by Rachel Ngai

Rachel Ngai

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics; Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - HKUST School of Business and Management

Barbara Petrongolo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of the rise of services in the narrowing of gender gaps in hours and wages in recent decades. We document the between-industry component of the rise in female work for the U.S., and propose a model economy with goods, services and home production, in which women have a comparative advantage in producing market and home services. The rise of services, driven by structural transformation and marketization of home production, acts as a gender-biased demand shift raising women's relative wages and market hours. Quantitatively, the model accounts for an important share of the observed trends.

Keywords: gender gaps, structural transformation, marketization

JEL Classification: E24, J22, J16

Suggested Citation

Ngai, Liwa Rachel and Petrongolo, Barbara, Gender Gaps and the Rise of the Service Economy. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8134. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432398

Liwa Rachel Ngai (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7017 (Phone)
+44 207 831 1840 (Fax)

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - HKUST School of Business and Management ( email )

Clear Water Bay
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Barbara Petrongolo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7799 (Phone)
+44 20 7955 7595 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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