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Recent work on Gender

The pay gap between men and women, although declining, remains substantial. In our research we have tried to understand its causes, and why it has varied over time and across countries.
  • Gender and the Labour Market: Evidence from Experiments

    Ghazala Azmat and Barbara Petrongolo (2014) explore what has been learned from economic experiments about the continued prevalence of gender gaps in the labour market. Experiments have identified a bias against hiring women in some labour market segments, but the discrimination detected is less pervasive than that implied by the regression approach. Experiments have also offered new insights into gender differences in preferences: to gain less from negotiation, women appear to have lower preferences than men for risk and competition and may be more sensitive to social cues. These gender differences in preferences also have implications in group settings, whereby the gender composition of a group affects team decisions and performance.

    Further reading:
    Gender and the Labour Market: What Have We Learned from Field and Lab Experiments?

    Gender and the labour market: evidence from experiments - this is a CentrePiece summary of the paper above.

  • Gender Gaps in Science

    Thomas Breda and Son Thierry Ly (2012) find that contrary to common perception, discrimination goes in favour of females in more traditional male subjects (e.g. mathematics or philosophy) and in favour of males in traditionally female subjects (e.g. literature or biology), inducing a rebalancing of sex ratios between students recruited for a research career in science and humanities majors.

    Further reading:
    Do Professors Really Perpetuate the Gender Gap in Science? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in a French Higher Education Institution

    Science: why the gender gap? - this is a CentrePiece summary of the paper above.

  • Gender Gaps in Law Firms

    Ghazala Azmat and Rosa Ferrer (2012) document and study the gender gap in performance among associate lawyers in the US. Performance is measured using the number of hours billed to clients and the amount of new client revenue generated (widely accepted and objective measures used in the sector). It is found that male lawyers bill ten-percent more hours and bring in more than double the new client revenue. The differential impact across genders in the presence of young children and the differences in aspirations to become a law-firm partner account for a large part of the difference in performance. These gaps in performance have important consequences for gender gaps in earnings. While individual and firm characteristics explain up to 50 percent of the gap in earnings, the inclusion of performance measures explains most of the remainder.

    Further reading:
    Gender Gaps in Performance: Evidence from Young Lawyers.

  • Gender Gaps Across Countries and Skills: Supply, Demand and the Industry Structure

    The gender wage gap varies widely across countries and across skill groups within countries. Claudia Olivetti and Barbara Petrongolo (2011) use a simple multi-sector framework and data from a number of OECD countries to illustrate how differences in labour demand for different inputs can be driven by both within-industry and between-industry factors.

    Further reading:
    Gender Gaps Across Countries and Skills: Supply, Demand and the Industry Structure.

  • Home Computers and Married Women's Labour Supply

    How has the availability of a personal computer at home changed employment for married women? Alexander Lembcke (2014) finds that employment is 1.5 to 7 percentage points higher for women in households with a computer. Decomposing the changes by educational attainment shows that both women with low levels of education (high school diploma or less) and women with the highest levels of education (Master's degree or more) have high returns from home computers.

    Further reading:
    Home Computers and Married Women’s Labour Supply.

  • Work-time Regulations and Spousal Labour Supply

    How does regulating work time affect labour supply in couples? Dominique Goux, Eric Maurin and Barbara Petrongolo (2011) investigate cross-hour effects in spousal labour supply exploiting independent variation in hours worked generated by the introduction of the short workweek in France in the late 1990s. They find that female and male employees exposed or 'treated' to the shorter legal workweek work around 2 hours less per week, and do not experience any reduction in their monthly earnings. While wives of treated men do not seem to adjust their working time at either the intensive or extensive margins, husbands of treated wives respond by cutting their labour supply by about half an hour to one hour per week, according to specifications and samples.

    Further reading:
    Worktime Regulations and Spousal Labour Supply.