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Wage differentials between native and immigrant women in Spain: Accounting for differences in support

  • Catia Nicodemo
  • Raul Ramos

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to quantify the wage gap between native and immigrant women in Spain, taking into account differences in their characteristics and the need to control for common support. If immigrant women are segregated in occupations with few native women, it is important to take this into account to analyse wage differentials between both collectives. Design/methodology/approach – Microdata from the Continuous Sample of Working Histories (Muestra Continua de Vidas Laborales) on wages and other personal characteristics such as gender, country of origin, and age were used to apply the matching procedure and the decomposition of the wage gap, along the lines of Ñopo, for the analysis of wage differentials between native and immigrant women. The advantage of this procedure is that one can simultaneously estimate the common support and the mean counterfactual wage for the women on the common support (i.e. comparing native and immigrant women with similar observable characteristics). In addition, differences not only at the mean but also along the entire wage distribution can be described. Findings – The results obtained indicate that, on average, immigrant women earn less than native women in the Spanish labour market. This wage gap is bigger when immigrant women from developing countries are considered, but the authors’ main finding is that an important part of this wage gap is related to differences in common support (i.e. immigrant women are segregated in certain jobs with low wages different from those occupied by native women). If the need to control for common support is neglected, estimates of the wage gap will be biased. Originality/value – Studying the case of Spain is particularly interesting because it is a country with abundant and recent immigration. Immigrant women account for more than half of the total immigrants in Spain, and unlike other host countries, they come from a highly varied range of countries, with origins as diverse as Latin America, the Maghreb and Eastern Europe. To the authors’ knowledge, no other study has explicitly focused on the analysis of the wage differential of immigrant women in the Spanish labour market by taking into account the need to control for common support. Moreover, published papers illustrating the potentiality of Ñopo's methodology are also very scarce.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 118-136

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:118-136
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