Kenza Elass*, Matteo Sestito**

phd seminar

Kenza Elass*, Matteo Sestito**

What do women want in a job? Gender-biased preferences and the reservation wage gap*
Crop cycles and hierarchy: An agro-ecological theory on the origins of the state**

IBD Salle 21

Îlot Bernard du Bois - Salle 21

5-9 boulevard Maurice Bourdet
13001 Marseille

Mardi 5 avril 2022| 11:00 - 12:30

Kenza Elass : kenza.elass[at]
Camille Hainnaux : camille.hainnaux[at]
Daniela Horta Saenz : daniela.horta-saenz[at]
Jade Ponsard : jade.ponsard[at]


*Recent explanations of the gender wage gap emphasize the role of gender differences in psychological traits. Nevertheless, there have been only a limited number of studies confirming the relevance of these factors for labour market outcomes. This paper assesses the role of gender-specific preferences in the reservation wage gap during the job search. I use French administrative data from the unemployment insurance agency providing information on job search behaviour and previous outcomes to assess to which kind of occupations men and women apply to and the gap in their reservation wages. Employing text analysis, I build a novel dataset classifying occupations with respect to a number of characteristics and examine to which extent men and women differ in the occupation they are looking for. I document widespread gender differences in the occupation characteristics targeted by job seekers. Quantile decomposition methods allow me to document an unequal gap in reservation wage, intensifying along the distribution. After adjusting for occupation characteristics reflecting gender-biased preferences and household constraints, the unexplained part of the reservation wage gap is decreased by half. Investigating unemployment history and outcomes from previous interviews with firms, I do not find evidence of a female risk aversion to previous unemployment shocks or male overconfidence.

**The uneven emergence of states and political hierarchies across the globe is often invoked as one of the major causes of current wealth disparities. This paper explores the determinants of state-building in the pre-industrial era from a new angle: the heterogeneity of crop cycles and the related dispersion of the economic activity. The spatial and temporal concentration of farming was a necessary condition to sustain regular levels of taxation. When crop cycles are too heterogeneous, for central authorities is extremely difficult to measure, account and eventually appropriate local resources. The paper provides strong empirical evidence for this claim, highlighting a new, relatively neglected, agro-ecological constraint on state formation.