Inequality among the Educational Elite
A new paper from Harvard profs Goldin and Katz examines the data on the earnings and family and education choices of thousands of graduates from Harvard and Radcliffe, with an eye toward gender inequality.
By the 1970’s, elite women were already going to graduate and professional schools in large numbers. Since then, the proportion of women in such schools has been steady or in some cases declining. The exception is the huge increase in the popularity of business school; this change is observed among men as well as women.
Since the 1970’s, the median age of first marriage has risen rapidly, and is now around 30; but the number of children per family has remained fairly steady.
Earnings for both men and women are very high, but median earnings for men are significantly higher. At the right tail of the distribution, 8% of men make over $1 million annually, but only 2% of women do.
Most of the difference between the men’s and women’s earnings is explained by differences in hours worked, choice of major, choice of professional school, and number of large gaps in employment (ie, to have a baby). But after controlling for all these things, a gender earnings gap of log 0.3 remains.
In the process of controlling for the impact of college major on earnings, the authors found that economics is the highest earning major, with an earnings gap of log 0.33 =)