Occupational Prestige and the Gender Wage Gap
32 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2015 Last revised: 25 Oct 2017
Date Written: March 1, 2015
Occupational segregation by gender remains widespread and explains a significant part of the gender wage gap. We examine the explanation that heterogeneity in preferences for wages and occupational prestige leads to gender differences in occupational choices, creating a gender wage gap. In self-reports, women express a stronger preference than men for occupations that are more valuable to society, which we hypothesize leads women to place more importance than men on the occupational prestige of their occupation, resulting in lower wages for occupations with higher prestige. Using Danish data, we find support for this hypothesis, especially for individuals with lower ability.
Keywords: occupational choice, occupational prestige, social prestige, gender wage gap, gender roles
JEL Classification: D13, J16, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation