Essays on Gender and Skills in the Labour Market

Mathias Fjællegaard Jensen

Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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This thesis consists of three independent chapters on gender and skills in the labour market. Chapters 1 and 2 focus on gender di˙erences in labour market outcomes, and Chapters 1 and 3 on the role of skills in the labour market. Thus, Chapter 1 binds the three chapters together.
In the first chapter, "Gender Di˙erences in Returns to Skills: Evidence from Matched Vacancy-Employer-Employee Data", I show the advantages of individual-level matched vacancy-employer-employee data by estimating returns to skills and their heterogeneity across genders while controlling for firm and occupation FEs. Recently available data from online job vacancies have enabled analyses that move beyond across-occupation variation to also include within-occupation variation in workers’ task-specific skills. However, ex-isting analyses of job vacancy data are typically limited by the fact that information on the hired worker(s) is hidden. To overcome this issue, I develop a novel, pseudo-individual match between Danish job vacancy data and register data. With data on the hired worker(s) for each online job vacancy, I can test how the employment of skills and the returns to skills depend on the gender of the worker. I use the matched employer-employee-vacancy data to show that women face significantly lower returns to cognitive, character, customer service, financial, and specific computer skills when compared to men after controlling for both occupation and firm fixed e˙ects. In other words, despite being employed in jobs that require the same task-specific skills, women generally face lower hourly wages than their male colleagues.
In the second chapter, "Income E˙ects and Labour Supply: Evidence from a Child Be-nefits Reform", co-authored with Jack Blundell, we look further into gender di˙erences in labour market outcomes. We exploit a unique and unexpected reform to the child benefit system in Denmark to assess the e˙ects of child benefits on parental labour supply. A cap on child benefit payments in 2011 led to a non-negligible reduction in child benefits for larger families with young children. The di˙erential impact of this policy shift represents an opportunity to assess the causal impact of child benefit programmes on the labour supply of mothers and fathers. As a new government was elected in late 2011, the reform was repealed after being in place for a single year, which allows us to assess long term e˙ects of a temporary income shock that was perceived to be permanent. We find that a reduction in child benefits leads to a large increase in the labour supply of mothers; the e˙ect on fathers is much smaller. Both mothers and fathers respond to the policy at the intensive margin, but the strongest response is from mothers at the extensive margin. The majority of the e˙ects can be ascribed to fertility responses, but even after controlling for fertility-related family characteristics, we find significant increases in labour supply after the introduction of the reform. We confirm this result by using data on parents’ consulta-tions with doctors regarding sterilisation, a common procedure in Denmark. Lastly, the labour supply e˙ects of the reform are generally sustained for at least 3 years after its repeal.
In the final chapter, "University Admission and the Similarity of Fields of Study", co-authored with Moira Daly and Daniel le Maire, we return to the theme of task-specific skills and education. We exploit discontinuities from the Danish university enrolment system and find that students who are marginally accepted into their preferred program in a broad field that is di˙erent from their next-best choice (e.g. business rather than science) experience significant and long-lasting rewards as a result. In contrast, students whose preferred and next-best program lie within the same broad field do not. Exploiting data from online job postings, we find that the estimated e˙ects on skill usage similarly vary according to the degree of similarity between preferred and next-best choices.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages211
ISBN (Print)9788775680399
ISBN (Electronic)9788775680405
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesPhD Series

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