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Gender wage gaps within a public sector: Evidence from personnel data

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  • S Bradley
  • C Green
  • J Mangan

Abstract

A standard finding in the literature on gender wage gaps is that the public sector exhibits much lower gaps than in the private sector. This finding is generally attributed to the existence of less gender discrimination in the public sector. In this paper we show that this conclusion is flawed because the standard finding for the public sector is biased by the dominating influence of large feminised occupational groups, such as those in nursing and teaching, both of which have relatively flat job hierarchies and hence low overall wage variance. However, when we examine other occupations within the public sector, there is evidence of sizeable wage gaps, much of which cannot be explained by observable or unobservable workplace or worker characteristics. This finding implies that gender discrimination is substantial in some occupations in the public sector.

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Paper provided by Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department in its series Working Papers with number 615584.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:615584

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  1. Alan Manning & Joanna Swaffield, 2005. "The Gender Gap in Early Career Wage Growth," CEP Discussion Papers dp0700, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Claudio Lucifora & Dominique Meurs, 2006. "The Public Sector Pay Gap In France, Great Britain And Italy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(1), pages 43-59, 03.
  3. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Albrecht, James & Björklund, Anders & Vroman, Susan, 2001. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," IZA Discussion Papers 282, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 163-186, January.
  6. Rosholm, Michael & Smith, Nina, 1996. "The Danish Gender Wage Gap in the 1980s: A Panel Data Study," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 254-79, April.
  7. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  8. James M. Poterba & Kim S. Rueben, 1994. "The Distribution of Public Sector Wage Premia: New Evidence Using Quantile Regression Methods," NBER Working Papers 4734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  10. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  11. Blackaby, D. H. & Murphy, P. D. & O'Leary, N. C., 1999. "The payment of public sector workers in the UK: reconciliation with North American findings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 239-243, November.
  12. Booth, Alison L. & Francesconi, Marco & Frank, Jeff, 2003. "A sticky floors model of promotion, pay, and gender," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 295-322, April.
  13. Zweimuller, Jopsef & Winter- Ebmer, Rudolf, 1993. "Gender Wage Differentials in Private and Public Sector Jobs," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley qt7ps0140j, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  14. Gregory B. Lewis, 1996. "Gender integration of occupations in the federal civil service: Extent and effects on male-female earnings," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(3), pages 472-483, April.
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