Understanding the gender gap further: The case of turn-of-the-century Swedish compositors.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To better understand the historical gender wage gap, we investigate the wages of Swedish compositors circa 1900 using a rich data set of matched employer-employee information with national coverage. In line with previous findings, women earned about 70 percent of men’s wages on average. Individual and job characteristics explain much of this shortfall. Firm characteristics or firm fixed effects, on average, explain 17 percent of the gap, though the firm mattered more for the gender gap in big cities than elsewhere. Sorting across firms is thus an important part of understanding historical gender wage gaps. While most studies conclude that a significant portion of the gender gap is unexplained, suggesting labor market discrimination, this may result from a lack of information on the distribution of men and women across firms.


External organisations
  • Wabash College
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-206
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar
Publication categoryResearch