Gender Differentials in the Wage Return of Behaviorial Attributes: The Case of Heads of Households in Brazil

Raquel Guimaraes, Federal University of Parana
Alana Peters, Federal University of Parana

Recent debates within the economic literature have argued that part of the gender wage gap may be explained by behavioral factors such as competitiveness, risk aversion, social preferences, self-confidence, and ambition. If men and women indeed differ systematically in such behaviors, this may lead to different results in the labor market, especially with regard to occupational allocation. The objective behind this study is to test the association between behavior, gender, and results in the labor market, specifically in the wages of Brazilian heads of household. To this end, we used the "Social Dimensions of Inequalities Research" (PDSD) of 2008, a research that is representative of the Brazilian population (except for the country’s north rural area) and with a wide-ranging survey. Based on the PDSD, we were able to create indicators for some theoretically relevant behaviors – such as social preferences, labor value, and ambition – using the Item Response Theory. The indicators were then added for an estimation of the Mincer earnings equation. The descriptive analysis revealed that behavioral differences by gender, even when statistically significant, were very small when evaluated through effect size measures such as Cohen''s D. The empirical results revealed that the labor market returns of these behaviors were not gender differentiated. Nevertheless, some behavior indicators such as social preferences and ambition were significant for explaining the average wages of the total analyzed sample of household heads.

Presented in Session 1150: Economics, Human Capital, and Labour Markets