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Gender and ethnic earnings gaps in seven West African cities

  • Nordman, Christophe J.
  • Robilliard, Anne-Sophie
  • Roubaud, François

In this paper, we measure, compare and analyse gender and ethnic earnings gaps in seven West African capitals using data from an original series of urban household surveys. Our results show that gender earnings gaps are large in all the cities in our sample with significant variations across cities. Cities with large gender earnings gaps are also where gender education gaps are wider and where the female labour market participation is highest. Decomposition of the gender gaps shows that differences in characteristics explain around 40% of the raw gender gap on average, but this varies somewhat across cities. The results of the full decomposition of the gender earnings gaps suggest that differences in sector allocation contribute, on average, to one third of gender earnings gaps. Gender gaps are very wide in the informal sector and differences in micro-firm characteristics also account for differences in self-employment earnings. In contrast to the large gender earnings gaps measured in the seven cities, majority ethnic groups do not appear to be in a systematically advantageous position on the urban labour markets in our sample of cities, and observed gaps are small compared with gender gaps. Looking at more detailed levels of ethnic disaggregation, ethnic earnings differentials are found to be systematically smaller than gender differentials. Moreover, none of the minority “favoured” groups seem to have any relation to the ethnicity of the Head of State at the time of the survey. Holding productive characteristics constant, some unexplained differences persist however.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
Issue (Month): S1 ()
Pages: S132-S145

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:18:y:2011:i:s1:p:s132-s145
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Randall S. Brown & Marilyn Moon & Barbara S. Zoloth, 1980. "Incorporating Occupational Attainment in Studies of Male-Female Earnings Differentials," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(1), pages 3-28.
  3. Fearon, James D, 2003. " Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
  4. 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.
  5. T. Paul Schultz, 2003. "Evidence of Returns to Schooling in Africa from Household Surveys: Monitoring and Restructuring the Market for Education," Working Papers 875, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  6. Jean-Pierre Lachaud, 1996. "Les femmes et le marché du travail urbain en Afrique subsaharienne," Série de recherche 01, Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV.
  7. Tilahun Temesgen, 2006. "Decomposing Gender Wage Differentials in Urban Ethiopia: Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee (LEE) Manufacturing Survey Data," Global Economic Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 43-66.
  8. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-79, November.
  9. Regan, Tracy L. & Oaxaca, Ronald L., 2006. "Work Experience as a Source of Specification Error in Earnings Models: Implications for Gender Wage Decompositions," IZA Discussion Papers 1920, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. David Neumark, 1987. "Employers' discriminatory behavior and the estimation of wage discrimination," Special Studies Papers 227, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1983. "Generalized Econometric Models with Selectivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 507-12, March.
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