Differences in Labor Supply to Monopsonistic Firms and the Gender Pay Gap: An Empirical Analysis Using Linked Employer‐Employee Data from Germany
Journal of Labor Economics,
This article investigates women’s and men’s labor supply to the firm within a semistructural approach based on a dynamic model of new monopsony. Using methods of survival analysis and a large linked employer‐employee data set for Germany, we find that labor supply elasticities are small (1.9–3.7) and that women’s labor supply to the firm is less elastic than men’s (which is the reverse of gender differences in labor supply usually found at the level of the market). Our results imply that at least one‐third of the gender pay gap might be wage discrimination by profit‐maximizing monopsonistic employers.
Monopsonistic Labour Markets and the Gender Pay Gap: Theory and Empirical Evidence
Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems,
This book investigates models of spatial and dynamic monopsony and their application to the persistent empirical regularity of the gender pay gap. Theoretically, the main conclusion is that employers possess more monopsony power over their female employees if women are less driven by pecuniary considerations in their choice of employers than men. Employers may exploit this to increase their profits at the detriment of women’s wages. Empirically, it is indeed found that women’s labour supply to the firm is less wage-elastic than men’s and that at least a third of the gender pay gap in the data investigated may result from employers engaging in monopsonistic discrimination. Therefore, a monopsonistic approach to gender discrimination in the labour market clearly contributes to the economic understanding of the gender pay gap. It not only provides an intuitively appealing explanation of the gap from standard economic reasoning, but it is also corroborated by empirical observation.
Worker Beliefs about Outside Options
Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Standard labor market models assume that workers hold accurate beliefs about the external wage distribution, and hence their outside options with other employers. We test this assumption by comparing German workers’ beliefs about outside options with objective benchmarks. First, we find that workers wrongly anchor their beliefs about outside options on their current wage: workers that would experience a 10% wage change if switching to their outside option only expect a 1% change. Second, workers in low-paying firms underestimate wages elsewhere. Third, in response to information about the wages of similar workers, respondents correct their beliefs about their outside options and change their job search and wage negotiation intentions. Finally, we analyze the consequences of anchoring in a simple equilibrium model. In the model, anchored beliefs keep overly pessimistic workers stuck in low-wage jobs, which gives rise to monopsony power and labor market segmentation.