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Reassessing the Gender Wage Gap in Madagascar: Does Labor Force Attachment Really Matter?

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  • Christophe J. Nordman
  • François Roubaud

Abstract

In the labor economics literature, it has been argued that differences in labor force attachment across gender are important to explain the extent of the gender wage gap. However, measures of women's work experience are particularly prone to errors given discontinuity in labor market participation. Using proxy measures such as potential experience may lead to biased estimates of the returns to human capital. Such biases cannot be ignored since these returns are used in the standard decomposition techniques to measure the extent of gender-based wage discrimination. By matching two original surveys conducted in Madagascar in 1998-a labor force survey and a biographical survey-we built a unique data set that enabled us to combine the original information gathered from each of them, particularly the earnings from current employment and the entire professional trajectories. Our results lead to a reassessment of the returns to human capital as potential experience always exceeds actual experience for both males and females. By using actual experience, we obtain a significant increase in the portion of the gender earnings gap explained by observable characteristics, while the differences in average actual experience across sexes lead to markedly different estimates of the fraction of the gender gap explained by experience. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 57 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (07)
Pages: 785-808

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:57:y:2009:i:4:p:785-808

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Cited by:
  1. Christophe Nordman & Laure Pasquier-Doumer, 2012. "Vocational Education, On-the-Job Training and Labour Market Integration of Young Workers in Urban West Africa," Working Papers, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) DT/2012/13, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  2. Richard U. Agesa & Jacqueline Agesa & Andrew Dabalen, 2013. "Sources of the Persistent Gender Wage Gap along the Unconditional Earnings Distribution: Findings from Kenya," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 76-103, March.
  3. Robilliard, Anne-Sophie & Rakotomanana, Faly & Nordman, Christophe Jalil, 2010. "Gender Disparities in the Malagasy Labour Market," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University 123456789/4304, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Nordman, Christophe Jalil & Vaillant, Julia, 2014. "Inputs, Gender Roles or Sharing Norms? Assessing the Gender Performance Gap Among Informal Entrepreneurs in Madagascar," IZA Discussion Papers 8046, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Mathias Kuepie & Christophe Nordman, 2011. "Éducation et marchés du travail à Brazzaville et Pointe Noire (Congo-Brazzaville)," Working Papers, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) DT/2011/11, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  6. Christophe J. Nordman & François-Charles Wolff, 2009. "Gender differences in pay in African manufacturing firms," Working Papers, HAL hal-00421227, HAL.
  7. Kuepie, Mathias & Nordman, Christophe J. & Roubaud, François, 2009. "Education and earnings in urban West Africa," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 491-515, September.
  8. Christophe Nordman & Anne-Sophie Robilliard & François Roubaud, 2009. "Decomposing Gender and Ethnic Earnings Gaps in Seven West African Cities," Working Papers, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) DT/2009/07, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  9. Christophe Nordman & Laure Pasquier-Doumer, 2013. "Transitions in a West African Labour Market: The Role of Social Networks," Working Papers, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) DT/2013/12, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).

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