Changes in Returns to Task-Specific Skills and Gender Wage Gap
51 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2012 Last revised: 27 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 23, 2016
What role did skilled-biased technological change play in narrowing the wage inequality, particularly between men and women? To answer that question this paper constructs a task-based Roy model in which workers possess a bundle of basic skills and occupations are characterized as a bundle of basic tasks. The model is estimated using the task data from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the PSID. The main empirical finding is that men have more motor skills than women, but the returns to motor skills have dropped significantly, accounting for a major part of the narrowed gender wage gap from 1980 to 2000. During the period of 2000-2010, the returns to motor skills were stable, but the estimates suggest that the faster growth of women's cognitive and general skills compared to men's reduced the gender wage gap.
Keywords: Roy model, task-based approach, occupational choice, skill-biased technological change, soft skills
JEL Classification: J24, J31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation