The Changing Distribution of Male and Female Wages, 1978-2000: Can the Simple Skills Story Be Rejected?

39 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2003

See all articles by Amanda Gosling

Amanda Gosling

University of Essex - Department of Economics; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: September 2003

Abstract

This Paper attempts to reconcile two apparently contradictory trends in the UK labour market over the 1980s and 1990s. While wage differentials based on observed skill have risen for men, wage differentials between men and women have fallen. If women earn less than men because they are less skilled, then one would expect differences across genders to follow the same trends as differences across skills. The simplest explanation of the data is that the labour market has become more competitive, resulting in a fall in discrimination and an increase in the return to skill. As this explanation is not directly and easily testable, this Paper examines its plausibility by assessing other explanations for these results.

Keywords: Wage inequality, male-female wage differentials

JEL Classification: J30, J70

Suggested Citation

Gosling, Amanda, The Changing Distribution of Male and Female Wages, 1978-2000: Can the Simple Skills Story Be Rejected? (September 2003). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 4045. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=461625

Amanda Gosling (Contact Author)

University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )

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Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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