Regulation distance, labour segmentation and gender gaps
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Existing theories on human capital, labour market segmentation and discrimination fail to fully explain gender gaps—for example, the large gender gap in elite occupations where women apparently possess high labour market power. This article seeks to extend our understanding, through the interaction between labour segmentation, regulation content and regulation distance, the last referring to the extent to which employment of particular workers is (un)regulated, including by collective agreements, legislation or other instruments. Regulation distance encompasses a continuum from ‘regulation proximity’ to ‘market proximity’. A greater reliance on the ‘market’ does not necessarily remove pay distortions; rather, it might increase their impact through the mechanism of gendered norms. Empirical evidence is drawn from studies in several countries, most commonly Australia. This approach more clearly specifies the roles of under-valuation, labour segmentation, group norms and human and social capital; illuminates public sector and union effects; explains why the gender gap is greatest for a group of women with the most labour market power; and illustrates some non-pay aspects of gendered experience at work.
Cambridge Journal of Economics
© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Cambridge Journal of Economics following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version 'Regulation distance, labour segmentation and gender gaps', Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 39, Issue 2, Pages 345–362, 1 March 2015, is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/cje/beu054.
Economics not elsewhere classified