Immigrants and Ethnic Differences

More subtle factors such as the may 2003 level of

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Unformatted text preview: factors such as the MAY 2003 level of stress at work and the ability to take unplanned time off for family emergencies are also likely to in uence the choice of occupation and work place. Thus, certain characteristics of jobs may affect women’s occupational choices because they are particularly compatible or incompatible with women’s dual home/market roles. These adaptive occupational choices will tend to lower the market earnings of women relative to men. For example, some occupations require lengthy investment in skills with applicability only to highly speci c market activities (e.g., aerospace engineer, surgeon, top management in large complex organizations). The payoff to such investments is obviously reduced when years in the labor force are reduced. Moreover, skills depreciate during periods of withdrawal from work (Jacob Mincer and Haim Ofek, 1982), and the rate of depreciation is likely to vary depending on the rate of technological change and obsolescence of the skills acquired. Fields such as physics, where knowledge depreciates rapidly have disproportionately fewer women. Other types of schooling and training are more general in their applicability to different situations and impart skills that are less prone to depreciate. For example, nursing and teaching skills are valuable to mothers and can be practiced widely in different settings with relatively little additional rm-speci c training. Certain characteristics of the workplace are more compatible with women’s home responsibilities than others. The depreciation in skills and earnings related to complete withdrawal from the labor force may be ameliorated by work situations that accommodate the need for less demanding work while raising a family. Part-time work is the most obvious manifestation of this adjustment. Even if a woman does not always work part-time she may be more likely to choose an occupation or job setting that provides a shorter or more exible work week in the event it may be needed, or a more informal work setting where time off for unpredictable events is acceptable. Both work attachment and the choice of occupation are expected to be important determinants of women’s earnings and important factors underlying the gender wage gap. In the analysis discussed below I incorporate measures and proxies for these factors. I examine ...... 3 16 Nicole M. Fortin and Tammy Schirle mid-lower tail of the distribution in 1997. That kind of shift has been identified in Fortin and Lemieux (2000) as the result of the decline in unionization over that period. As a result of women’s relative earnings gains, women’s median earnings and wages have been steadily catching up to men’s. Figure 11.2 indicates that the ratio of median female earnings to median male earnings has increased steadily over the 1980s and 1990s. As expected, the female/male hourly wage ratio for the sample of workers with one year or more of job tenure is consistently higher (reaching the 75 to 80 percent range in the late 1990s) than the annual earnings ratio for the sample of full-time, full-year workers, which reaches the 70 to 75 percent rang...
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This document was uploaded on 02/26/2014 for the course ECON 560 at The University of British Columbia.

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