Skip to content

Journal Article

Occupational sex-segregation, specialized human capital and wages: evidence from Britain

Authors

Publication date

20 May 2013

Summary


Female-dominated occupations are poorly paid, but there is disagreement about why. Sociological explanations argue that pay in such occupations is low because society undervalues ‘women’s work’, while economic theory argues that this is due to scant requirements for specialized skills. This article sheds light over these debates by examining the impact of occupational feminization on wages in Britain and exploring the mechanisms that produce it, using innovative statistical models that account for both observable and unobservable skill. Results confirm that occupational sex-segregation explains a sizeable portion of the gender wage gap and that wages in female-dominated occupations are lower than wages in other occupations. Inconsistent with human capital theory, low pay in female-dominated occupations cannot be explained fully by low skill specialization or by observable or unobservable characteristics of their workers. Remaining wage penalties in such occupations are consequently taken as evidence of institutional devaluation of ‘women’s work’.

Published in

Work, Employment and Society

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0950017012460305

ISSN

16

Subjects

Human Capital, Labour Economics, and Wages And Earnings

Links

http://serlib0.essex.ac.uk/record=b1577032~S5

Notes

Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*

#521691


Research home

Research home

News

Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author

Podcasts

Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society

Projects

Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs

Events

Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report

Themes

Key research themes and areas of interest