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The Return to Hours Worked Within and Across Occupations: Implications for the Gender Wage Gap

Jeffrey T. Denning, Brian Jacob, Lars Lefgren, Christian vom Lehn

NBER Working Paper No. 25739
Issued in April 2019
NBER Program(s):The Labor Studies Program

We document two empirical phenomena. First, the observational wage returns to hours worked within occupation is small, and even negative in some specifications. Second, the wage return to average hours worked across occupations is large. We develop a conceptual framework that reconciles these facts, where the key insight is that workers choose jobs as a bundle of compensation and expected hours worked. As an example, we apply this framework to the gender wage gap and show how it can explain the view expressed in recent work that hours differences between men and women represent a large and growing component of the gender wage gap.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25739

 
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