Gender and ethnic earnings gaps in seven West African cities
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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