Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operators

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Female workers earn $0.89 for each male-worker dollar even in a unionized workplace
where tasks, wages, and promotion schedules are identical for men and women by design.
We use administrative time card data on bus and train operators to show that the earnings
gap can be explained by female operators taking, on average, 1.5 fewer hours of overtime
and 1.3 more hours of unpaid time-off per week than male operators. Female operators,
especially those who have dependents, pursue schedule conventionality, predictability, and
controllability more than male operators. Analyzing two policy changes, we demonstrate
that while reducing schedule controllability can reduce the earnings gap, it can also make
workers—particularly female workers—worse off.

Last updated on 01/10/2020