Are Female Workers Less Productive Than Male Workers?

MEMORANDUM No 5:2006 Are Female Workers Less Productive Than Male Workers? By Trond Petersen, University of California, Berkeley and University of Oslo Vemund Snartland, University of Bergen and Institute for Reseach in Economics and Business Eva M. Meyersson Milgrom, Stanford University

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This paper addresses whether there are productivity differences between men and women
among blue-collar workers. We compare the wages under piece- and time-rate contracts
of men and women working in the same occupation in the same establishment in three
countries: the U.S., Norway, and Sweden. The findings are summarized in four points.
First, the gender wage gap is smaller under piece- than under time-rate work. According
to the interpretation put forth here, two thirds of the gap at the occupation–establishment
level is due to productivity differences, while one third is not “accounted for”, but could
be due to discrimination or experience or other factors. Productivity differences between
sexes in typically male-dominated blue-collar industries are however very small, of 1–
3%: Sweden 1%, U.S. 2% and Norway 3%. Second, in age groups where women on
average have extensive family obligations, the wage gap is larger than in other age
groups. Third, under time-rate work, the wage gap is more or less independent of
supposed occupation-based productivity differences between men and women, while
under piece-rate work, the wage gap mirrors quite closely assumed productivity
differences, with women receiving a wage premium in female-advantageous settings and
a penalty in male-advantageous settings. Fourth, in contrast to Sweden, in Norway and
the U.S. women sort more often into piece-rate work than men.4Første avsnitt. Dette dokumentet kan redigeres med FCK.

By Matthew Whiting
Published Oct. 10, 2010 11:19 AM - Last modified Oct. 15, 2010 9:27 AM