Explaining Women’s Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women’s Work


Black, Sandra E. ; Spitz-Oener, Alexandra


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URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/1513
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-15132
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2007
Publication language: English
Institution: Sonstige Einrichtungen > ZEW - Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen des ZEW (Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung) > ZEW Discussion Papers
Subject: 330 Economics
Subject headings (SWD): Gehalt , Geschlechtsunterschied , Arbeitsbereich , Änderung , Deutschland <Westliche Länder>
Abstract: The closing of the gender wage gap is an ongoing phenomenon in industrialized countries. However, research has been limited in its ability to understand the causes of these changes, due in part to an inability to directly compare the work of women to that of men. In this study, we use a new approach for analyzing changes in the gender pay gap that uses direct measures of job tasks and gives a comprehensive characterization of how work for men and women has changed in recent decades. Using data from West Germany, we find that women have witnessed relative increases in nonroutine analytic tasks and non-routine interactive tasks, which are associated with higher skill levels. The most notable difference between the genders is, however, the pronounced relative decline in routine task inputs among women with little change for men. These relative task changes explain a substantial fraction of the closing of the gender wage gap. Our evidence suggests that these task changes are driven, at least in part, by technological change. We also show that these task changes are related to the recent polarization of employment between low and high skilled occupations that we observed in the 1990s.
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Black, Sandra E. ; Spitz-Oener, Alexandra (2007) Explaining Women’s Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women’s Work. Open Access [Working paper]
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