Effects of Well-Adjusted Maternity Leave on the Gender Wage Gap: A Preliminary Framework
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Since the 1980s, wage convergence between men and women has been slow and inconsistent across high-income nations. Moreover, long-established explanations such that of human capital factors more so explain the gender wage gap aggregate of the past. Scholars of the gender wage gap, acknowledging these trends, have redirected research focus to unexplained factors and have begun scrutinizing the portion of the gender wage gap that is unexplained by differences in measured qualifications and other traditional factors; this portion of the gender wage gap is more formally referred to as the unexplained gender wage gap. This thesis follows the example of these scholars. To illustrate the impact of well-adjusted maternity leave policy on the gender wage gap aggregate, a qualitative case study on maternity leave policy across the United States, Germany, and Sweden was conducted. To exemplify the influence of maternity leave on other determinants of the wage gap, the aspect of leave duration was additionally compared with the female share of managerial positions and tertiary school enrollment across each country. Based on casual observations of the data, there is a positive impact of well-adjusted maternity leave on the gender wage gaps across all three nations. Although well-adjusted maternity leave appears to have a positive impact, the aspect of leave duration appears to have negative impacts on the gender wage gap and other determinants. These correlations are intriguing but unsubstantiated, nonetheless. Due to resource and time limitations, this study does not account for specific controls and aspects of maternity leave. Indeed, this study is preliminary and tentative—it is merely meant to lay the foundation for more sophisticated work. Moreover, this study is essential in contributing to the scholarly discussion surrounding the impact of policy on the gender wage gap aggregate. How much policy explains of the gender wage gap aggregate remains unspecified, and thus, this study on maternity leave can contribute to future statistical decompositions of policy.
gender wage gap
unexplained gender wage gap
Siegler, Austen Michael (2022). Effects of Well-Adjusted Maternity Leave on the Gender Wage Gap: A Preliminary Framework. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from
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