The challenge of measuring labor market discrimination against women

Ronald L. Oaxaca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This paper is an essay on the challenges that arise when attempting to quantify the extent of labor market discrimination against women. Three major economic theories of labor market discrimination are discussed: tastes and preferences, market power, and statistical discrimination. Decomposition methodology is presented and critiqued. Issues associated with attempts to use decomposition methodology to correct gender salary inequities in the work place are carefully examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-231
Number of pages33
JournalSwedish Economic Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Decomposition
  • Discrimination
  • Gender
  • Measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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