Public Sector Employment, Wage Inequality and the Gender Pay Ratio in the UK
AbstractThis paper assesses the relative contributions of the different systems of pay determination in the private sector and the public sector toward the changing level of wage inequality and the gender pay ratio in the UK. The greater centralisation of pay arrangements in the public sector compared with the private sector in the UK suggests that public sector employment may have acted to offset the widening wage inequality seen in recent years, as well as making an important contribution to the increase in women's relative average earnings compared to men. This issue is addressed by drawing on unpublished occupational hourly earnings data from the New Earnings Survey and applying decomposition of the Theil index of wage inequality to analyse both static and dynamic trends. The change in wage inequality for the period 1986 to 1995 primarily reflected the change in wage dispersion within the private sector, and the narrowing of the gender pay gap among the public sector workforce was an important factor in explaining the overall improvement in women's relative earnings. The paper argues that the relatively centralised pay arrangements in the public sector, compared with the private sector, played an important role in slowing the increase in wage inequality and narrowing the gender pay gap. As such, future policies to decentralise pay determination in the UK public sector may exacerbate the increasing level of wage inequality and reverse women's recent relative pay improvements.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Review of Applied Economics.
Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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