Essays on imperfect labor markets, job mobility, and the gender earnings gap

Brandon Vick, Fordham University


This dissertation is concerned with the ability of workers to make transitions from their jobs in response to wage signals. I focus on how such transitions differ across gender and relate to the gender earnings gap. The context of my analysis is Brazil, where large gender earnings gaps persist and vary across regions and sectors in the country. Using a monopsony model of job transitions, I measure job mobility through the wage elasticity of labor supply. Using formal sector, employer-employee data from the Brazilian RAIS, I estimate gender differences in wage elasticity from a hazard model of the probability of voluntary job separations. Overall elasticity estimates are positive for both males and females and statistically significant. For all workers in the sample, I estimate four specifications, two of which control for shared-frailties (worker and firm) and find significant gender differences in each. Across the models, male elasticity ranges from 1.638 to 2.175 while female elasticity ranges from 1.22 to 1.502. Female wage gaps predicted by elasticity differences range from 10.8 to 19.5 percent, compared to an actual gender wage difference of 16.4 percent. Results of higher male elasticity are robust to the use of a more parsimonious specification, a discrete-time approach, the use of job spell data for a single year, and the disaggregation by region. I extend the model through decomposition methods to help clarify the association between earnings, job separations, and elasticity. Using the Brazilian PME labor survey of formal and informal workers, I also find male workers to supply labor more elastically than females (1.513 male elasticity vs. 1.214 for females), controlling for education, occupation, and formal sector participation. This difference is statistically significant and implies a 9.8 percent earnings difference compared to the actual 24.3 percent difference in wages. I also find higher elasticity for male workers compared to female workers in many cases of the analysis segmented by formal/informal sectors, occupation categories, and education level. Mobility-related gender pay gaps are statistically significant for manual and low-education workers in the informal sector who move in and out of self-employment.

Subject Area

Labor economics

Recommended Citation

Vick, Brandon, "Essays on imperfect labor markets, job mobility, and the gender earnings gap" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3563437.