OCCUPATIONAL EARNINGS BEHAVIOR AND THE INEQUALITY OF EARNINGS BY SEX AND RACE IN THE UNITED STATES

EDWARD N. WOLFF

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper examines differences in earnings by occupations, and within occupations by sex and by race, on the basis of the 1/100 Public Use Samples of the 1960 and 1970 U.S. Population Censuses. It employs interval analysis to establish 32 categories of occupations with similar characteristics. Little relation was found between mean earnings of occupational groups and the degree of earnings inequality within them. When the figures are examined by sex, it was found that men, on average, earned over twice as much as women in both years, but women's earnings were more unequally distributed (as measured by the Gini coefficient). Women are concentrated in the traditional “female” occupations, which tend to be those at the bottom of the earnings scale, and men have a monopoly of the higher paid occupations. But mean earnings for men exceeded those for women in all occupational groups except one, even in the primarily female occupations. Standardizing first for occupational distribution and then for earnings by occupation, it was found that earnings differences between males and females within occupation had a greater impact on the overall male‐female earnings ratio than did differences in occupational distribution by sex. In contrast, when the figures are examined by race, the change in occupational distribution (primarily the movement of blacks out of farming and of blacks and Spanish speakers out of personal services) was the major factor. There was also a considerable degree of earnings inequality within demographic groups. The degree of inequality was in the main reduced when the demographic groups were subdivided into occupations, but it was still substantial. Additional factors like time worked, schooling, and experience must be taken into consideration in understanding this phenomenon. 1976 The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)151-166
    Number of pages16
    JournalReview of Income and Wealth
    Volume22
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 1976

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics

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