Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Business and Economics

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Troske

Abstract

This dissertation examines the effects of career interruptions on workers’ wages. In chapter four I examine whether controlling for the type of interruption differently affects men’s and women’s wages and therefore can be used to explain the remaining gender wage differences. The increased participation of married women in the labor force has increased their wages from just 30% of men’s wages in 1890 to nearly 80% as of 2001. Thus, although the gender wage gap has narrowed over time, it has yet to be eliminated. One argument for the persistence of the gender wage gap is that previously researchers have used poor measures of experience to estimate men’s and women’s wages. Although previous studies have made strides in measuring experience, including controls for the timing of work experience, the gender wage gap persists. I extend the wage-gap literature by including controls for the types of interruptions men and women encounter. Because they typically experience different types of interruptions, I examine whether the varying types affect wages differently. I control for the types of interruptions and find similar effects for men’s and women’s wages. My study shows that types of job interruptions do not explain the remaining wage differentials. The fifth chapter extends from the fourth chapter by including controls for all periods of unpaid leave from work. I examine whether wage differences exist between workers who return to their current employer post-interruption versus those who change employers post-interruption. I find differences in the wage effects from different types of unpaid leave for men and women. Chapter six extends from previous chapters by including controls for all periods of paid leave from work in addition to unpaid leaves from work. I examine whether depreciation effects occur when women spend time out of work but receive compensation through paid maternity leaves. I find no evidence that time out of work because of paid maternity leaves depreciates skills.

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