November 2004

IZA DP No. 1393: Do Markets Favor Women's Human Capital More than Planners?

published in: Journal of Comparative Economics, 2005, 33 (2), 278-298

Using micro data on women in the Czech Republic, we compare returns to various measures of human capital at the end of communism (1989), in mid-transition (1996) and in late/posttransition (2002). We show: dramatic increases in returns to education from 1989 to 1996 but no change from 1996 to 2002; no differences in returns to education by state vs. privatelyowned firms; "sheepskin" effects in both regimes, which rise over time and are similar across firm ownership; no difference in returns to education obtained during communism vs. transition; no change in wage-experience profiles over time; and similar increases in returns to education for women and men. In sum, markets pay women and men equally more for their human capital than the planners did; all the adjustment occurred in early transition and was driven by market forces rather than private ownership.