Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 47–67 | Cite as

Occupational segregation and the gender wage gap

  • Solomon William Polachek


The role of occupational segregation in the determination of gender wage differentials is assessed. It is found (1) that occupational segregation plays less of a role in explaining wage differentials than do traditional human capital variables; (2) that earnings profiles generated with data that include a percent female (PF) measure of occupational segregation are not ideal for testing human capital predictions yet nonetheless yield parameters consistent with neoclassical theory; and (3) that lifetime work considerations, such as the degree of one's labor force intermittency, are important in determining both one's occupation and wage. The implications are that government antidiscrimination policies based on outcome measures are in general inefficient. Instead, the government should concentrate on creating incentives for women to participate in the labor market on an equal basis as males.


Human Capital Wage Differential Neoclassical Theory Equal Basis Occupational Segregation 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (Kluwer) 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Solomon William Polachek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsState University of New YorkBinghamtonUSA

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