01/03/2017
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New York, Nueva York, Nowy York

This year New York was chosen to hold the 43 Eastern Economic Association meeting. In spite of the name, the conference gathers researchers from the entire world, including GRAPE members. This year, two members discussed their research at the conference: Jan Hagemejer presented the latest research on privatization and Lucas van der Velde presented the most recent analysis on the relation between gender wage gap and age.

The analysis presented by Lucas aims to better understand changes in the gender wage gap as women age, and what are the possible policy implications. Our research indicates that with age, gender differences in conditional wages grow more important; though this widening of the gap appears to be non-monotonic. Thus, it increases rapidly when women turn 30, that is when household responsibilities are the greatest. This evidence is consistent with existing attempts to explain wage inequality; however, we also observe that the wage gap increases in the post reproductive age, which presupposes a challenge to human capital literature.

In terms of policy implications, the paper points to the need to consider the determinants of the wage gap over the life cycle. Linking maternity benefits to previous employment earnings or increasing the availability of childcare facilities might help to reduce the gap among younger workers, but they might have little impact on women on the post-reproductive age. Addressing gender wage gap among older workers could also help to increase female labor market participation on later stages of their life, thus helping to mitigate the costs of an ageing workforce.

We would also like to thank all participants of the session, and particularly Jan Svejnar, whose comments are highly appreciated. We will do our best to incorporate them in future versions of the paper.

Below you can find our slides.