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Essays on Labor Economics, Dynamic Decision Making, and the Role of Gender

Externe Monographien

Boryana Antonova Ilieva

Berlin: Humboldt-Universität Berlin, 2023, XVIII, 170 S.


The topic of this thesis is the heterogeneity in labor market outcomes over the life cycle and across gender. The thesis comprises three independent research papers (Chapters 2-4), which focus on complementary aspects of the overreaching research question: how do employment choices determine earnings, and what role does the gender component play? Chapter 1 introduces the topic of wage and gender gaps and how these stand related to employment choices. Chapter 2 analyzes data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and the Panel’s Innovation Sample and investigates the role of biases in beliefs. It relates misperceptions about the labor market remuneration of years spent working part-time to the women’s propensity to engage in part-time employment and the consequent earnings losses. Chapter 3 adds the dimension of career development. It posits that part-time penalties in experience accumulation decrease the chances of being promoted and that promotions are important sources of wage growth. In sum, the analysis shows that part-time wage penalties have two key components - hampered career progression to higher-paying career levels and stagnating wage growth regardless of career level. The final chapter adds to the discussion on solutions to a longstanding challenge in empirical labor economics posed by the selection bias in wages observed by econometricians. It contributes a novel nonparametric estimator of the selection-free cumulative distribution wage function. This chapter leverages administrative data records from Germany to show how the estimator can be applied in estimating a selection-corrected distribution of gender wage gaps