How the Human Capital Model Explains Why the Gender Wage Gap Narrowed

46 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2004

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

Date Written: April 2004

Abstract

This paper explores secular changes in women's pay relative to men's pay. It shows how the human capital model predicts a smaller gender wage gap as male-female lifetime work expectations become more similar. The model explains why relative female wages rose almost unabated from 1890 to the early-1990s in the United States (with the exception of about 1940-1980), and why this relative wage growth tapered off since 1993. In addition to the US, the paper presents evidence from nine other countries using data gleaned from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS).

Keywords: gender, wages, human capital, secular trends

JEL Classification: J1, J2, J3, J7

Suggested Citation

Polachek, Solomon W., How the Human Capital Model Explains Why the Gender Wage Gap Narrowed (April 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=527142

Solomon W. Polachek (Contact Author)

State University of New York at Binghamton ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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