The Gender Pay Gap Across Countries: A Human Capital Approach

33 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014

See all articles by Solomon W. Polachek

Solomon W. Polachek

State University of New York at Binghamton; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jun Xiang

SUNY - Binghamton

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

The gender wage gap varies across countries. For example, among OECD nations women in Australia, Belgium, Italy and Sweden earn 80% as much as males, whereas in Austria, Canada and Japan women earn about 60%. Current studies examining cross-country differences focus on the impact of labor market institutions such as minimum wage laws and nationwide collective bargaining. However, these studies neglect labor market institutions that affect women's lifetime work behavior – a factor crucially important in gender wage gap studies that employ individual data. This paper explicitly concentrates on labor market institutions that are related to female lifetime work that affect the gender wage gap across countries. Using ISSP (International Social Survey Programme), LIS (Luxembourg Income Study) and OECD wage data for 35 countries covering 1970-2002, we show that the gender pay gap is positively associated with the fertility rate, positively associated with the husband-wife age gap at first marriage, and positively related to the top marginal tax rate, all factors which negatively affect women's lifetime labor force participation. In addition, we show that collective bargaining, as found in previous studies, is negatively associated with the gender pay gap.

Keywords: gender, pay, human capital, international differences

JEL Classification: J3, J7, I3, H8, F55

Suggested Citation

Polachek, Solomon W. and Xiang, Jun, The Gender Pay Gap Across Countries: A Human Capital Approach. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8603. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2520778

Solomon W. Polachek (Contact Author)

State University of New York at Binghamton ( email )

Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States
607-777-2144 (Phone)
607-777-4900 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Jun Xiang

SUNY - Binghamton ( email )

PO Box 6001
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States

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