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Evolution of the gender earnings gap among Canadian university graduates

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This paper reports the results of an empirical analysis of the gender earnings gap among recent Canadian Bachelor's level university graduates. The overall gap as of two years leaving university narrowed significantly across successive cohorts of graduates, but widened significantly from two to five years out for all groups. Differences in the explanatory variables 'explain' account for between 40% and essentially the entire gap across the different periods, this portion rising from two to five years out and across cohorts. By the final group, all of the gap is thus 'explained' at the two-year point in time, and most of it is explained at the five-year mark, meaning that labour market returns (measured in this manner) are largely gender-neutral for the last group of graduates. Hours of work is the single most important influence, while past work experience, job characteristics, family status, and province of residence and language have smaller and more mixed effects.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2004

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