Monday, September 27, 2010

Earnings Expectations on Mars and Venus

What we almost called this paper but went for the more conservative title below.

Decomposing Gender Differences in College Student Earnings Expectations
Liam Delaney, Colm Harmon and Cathy Redmond
Despite the increasing coverage and prevalence of equality legislation and the general alignment of key determining characteristics such as educational attainment, gender differentials continue to persist in labour market outcomes, including earnings. Recently, evidence has been found supporting the role of typically unobserved non-cognitive factors in explaining these gender differentials. We contribute to this literature by testing whether gender gaps in the earnings expectations of a representative group of Irish university students are explained by simultaneously controlling for gender heterogeneity across a wide array of cognitive and noncognitive factors. Non-cognitive factors were found to play a significant role in explaining the gender gap, however, gender differentials persist even after controlling for an extensive range of cognitive and non-cognitive factors. Nearly three-quarters of the short run and two-thirds of the long run differential could not be explained.

3 comments:

Kevin Denny said...

The whole "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" idea is very contentious. People like Simon Baron-Cohen (see "The Essential Difference") argue that sex differences are pretty innate: men just have less empathy and in extremis we are autistic. But for others its all a wicked social construct. Personally, I have no idea but its a debate that seems to generate a lot of heat.
On a terminological note, I think referring to male/female differences as "Gender" to be irredemiably twee. It's been hi-jacked from linguistics where some languages have 4,16 or even 20 genders. Even German has 3. Let's talk about sex. Its good enough for biologists.

Liam Delaney said...

yeah - that's one reason why we stayed away from it as a title. our paper certainly didn't require the differences to be biological innate.

dont know about the gender point Kevin - there are pros and cons of using both terms. Let's leave that for another post. for the purpose of our paper feel free to think of the word sex every time we say the word gender.

Martin Ryan said...

"We contribute to this literature by testing whether gender gaps in the earnings expectations of a representative group of Irish university students are explained by simultaneously controlling for gender heterogeneity across a wide array of cognitive and noncognitive factors."

I want to steer clear of any pedantic comments, but I have a query as to what cognitive factors were included. If this refers to Leaving Cert. points and/or university grade-scores, a point stressed to me at seminars and workshops is that these variables relate to academic achievement rather than cognitive ability. Of course, these variables could be described as proxies for ability, which may be what is intended.