Firm Sorting, College Major, and the Gender Earnings Gap


A growing body of evidence shows that differences in firm-specific pay premiums account for a large share of the gender pay gap. This paper asks how a common form of pre-labor market skill specialization, college major, mediates access to high-paying firms, and what this means for the gender earnings gap. Using employer-employee tax data from Chile matched to educational records, we show that differences in college major account for more than two-thirds of the firm contribution to the gender earnings gap among college admits. Degrees in Technology, which are numerous, male-dominated, and associated with high firm premiums, drive these effects.

Current Draft

Most Current Working Paper - May 2021

  • Coauthors: Federico Huneeus, Conrad Miller and Seth Zimmerman
  • Published: Industrial Relations Section Working Paper Series (May 2021, No. 648)
  • Date: 2021
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