Women and work : changes in employment and earnings since the 1970s
The aim of the thesis is to examine changes in the recent labour market experience of women relative to men. It uses microeconomic data from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. The thesis has seven chapters. Chapter 1 provides an introduction. In the second chapter trends in the gender pay gap across the full wage distribution are examined, and the impact of rising wage inequality on the earnings differential is assessed for full time workers. Chapter 3 examines changes in the relative earnings of part-time female workers relative to full-time men and women. It finds that part-time workers, in contrast to those working full time, have failed to increase their earnings relative to men over recent decades. Chapter 4 examines the impact of children on female wages in seven countries. The wage penalty to having children is found to vary substantially across countries, and is greatest in the UK. The fifth chapter looks at earnings differentials across education groups. It finds that demand shifts for more educated workers have outweighed recent increases in supply, and lead to increases in their relative wages. This shift in demand towards more educated workers has been particularly marked for women. In Chapter 6 changes in the gender pay gap across cohorts are examined. It suggests that while the pay gap widens considerably between the ages of 20 and 35, for more recent birth cohorts the pay gap has grown more slowly with age. It finds that the largest improvements in relative earnings over recent decade have been among more educated women of child bearing age. Finally, Chapter 7 concludes.