The Gender Gap in Wages over the Life Course: Evidence from a British Cohort Born in 1958

38 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2019

See all articles by Heather Joshi

Heather Joshi

University College London

Alex Bryson

UCL ; National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

David Wilkinson

University College London

Kelly Ward

University College London

Abstract

Using data tracking all those born in a single week in Great Britain in 1958 through to their mid-50s we observe an inverse U-shaped gender wage gap (GWG) over their life-course: an initial gap in early adulthood widened substantially during childrearing years, affecting earnings in full-time and part-time jobs. In our descriptive approach, education related differences are minor. Gender differences in work experience are the biggest contributor to that part of the gender wage gap we can explain in our models. Family formation primarily affects the GWG through its impact on work experience. Family composition is similar for male and female workers but attracts opposite wage premia. Not all of the GWG however is linked to family formation. There was a sizeable GWG on labour market entry and there are some otherwise unexplained gaps between the pay of men and women who do not become parents.

Keywords: family formation, gender wage gap, work experience, life course, NCDS birth cohort

JEL Classification: J16, J31

Suggested Citation

Joshi, Heather and Bryson, Alex and Wilkinson, David and Ward, Kelly, The Gender Gap in Wages over the Life Course: Evidence from a British Cohort Born in 1958. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12725, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3483963

Heather Joshi (Contact Author)

University College London

Alex Bryson

UCL ( email )

20 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=ABRYS65

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) ( email )

2 Dean Trench Street
Smith Square
London, SW1P 3HE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.niesr.ac.uk/staff/staffdetail.php?StaffID=307

David Wilkinson

University College London

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Kelly Ward

University College London

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