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The increase of the gender wage gap in Italy during the 2008-2012 economic crisis

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  • Daniela Piazzalunga

    () (Università di Verona
    Collegio Carlo Alberto
    FBK
    IZA)

  • Maria Laura Di Tommaso

    () (Collegio Carlo Alberto
    Università di Torino
    Frisch Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

The Italian gender wage gap is lower than in other European countries, however it increased during the 2008-2012 economic crisis, while in most countries it decreased. This paper finds that the main cause of this increase is the 2010-11 public sector wage freeze, which was introduced as an austerity measure by the Italian government. We estimate the level of the gender wage gap as if the wage freeze had not been implemented, applying a counterfactual analysis. We find that the wage freeze accounts for more than 100% of the increase of the wage gap, while other factors in sum reduced the wage gap. The paper also examines the evolution of the gap from 2004 to 2012 using the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition and a quantile decomposition. The gender wage gap is found to be unexplained by observed characteristics. After 2010 it is particularly high in the upper part of the wage distribution, indicating the existence of a glass ceiling in addition to a sticky floor.

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  • Daniela Piazzalunga & Maria Laura Di Tommaso, 2019. "The increase of the gender wage gap in Italy during the 2008-2012 economic crisis," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 17(2), pages 171-193, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:17:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s10888-018-9396-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s10888-018-9396-8
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    Cited by:

    1. Ramskogler, Paul & Riedl, Aleksandra & Schoiswohl, Florian, 2020. "Swinging female labor demand – How the public sector influences gender wage gaps in Europe," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 302, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    2. Francesca Carta, 2019. "Female labour supply in Italy: the role of parental leave and child care policies," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 539, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Daniela Piazzalunga, 2018. "The Gender Wage Gap Among College Graduates in Italy," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 4(1), pages 33-90, March.
    4. Taiwo Aderemi & Ibrahim Alley, 2019. "Gender pay gap in the workplace: the case of public and private sectors in Nigeria," Journal of Social and Economic Development, Springer;Institute for Social and Economic Change, vol. 21(2), pages 370-391, December.
    5. Töpfer, Marina, 2017. "Detailed RIF Decomposition with Selection - The Gender Pay Gap in Italy," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168422, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Castagnetti, Carolina & Rosti, Luisa & Töpfer, Marina, 2017. "The convergence of the gender pay gap: An alternative estimation approach," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 14-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    7. Töpfer, Marina, 2018. "The age pay gap and labor market heterogeneity: A new empirical approach using data for Italy," Discussion Papers 105, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    8. Töpfer, Marina, 2017. "Detailed RIF decomposition with selection: The gender pay gap in Italy," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 26-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender wage gap; Great recession; Public sector premium; Decomposition; Counterfactual analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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