Bridging the Gap: The Effect of Licensing and Professional Certification on the Gender Wage Gap
Despite advances in workplace protection and gender equality, the gender wage gap is still a prominent feature in the workplace. In this paper, I construct a model to examine the individual choice that leads to one investing in a license or certification and propose different mechanisms through which the gender wage gap can manifest. Additionally, I study the effect of occupational licensing and professional certification on the gender wage gap using 2014 survey data made available by the US Census. I have found that, in several industries, women who possess a license or a certification receive a lower return on wages than men who possess a license. This is true even in industries where women dominate men, such as teaching and nursing. Furthermore, I employ an Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition technique to determine if licensing does indeed close the gender wage gap. While not universal, in certain industries, this investment in additional skills does seem to have a small but significant effect towards closing the wage gap between women and men.
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