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Something in the way she moves: a fresh look at an old gap


  • Alan Manning
  • Helen Robinson


In this paper, we propose a new decomposition as a useful complement to traditional methods of explaining the gender pay gap and the pay gap between full-time and part-time women. We decompose average earnings into the contribution of the average starting wage for workers entering paid work from non-employment, average wage growth for those in continuous employment, and the fraction of workers entering employment. We use this to inform discussion of the pay gap, first, between men and women and, second, between full-time and part-time women. Comparing men and women using data drawn from the British Household Panel Survey, we find no significant differences in wage growth whilst in continuous employment: the source of the gender pay gap comes from the entrant pay gap and the share of entrants. The study of longer-run changes leads us to expect a modest further narrowing of this gap. Comparisons of full- and part-time women indicate no difference in entry pay shares and little difference in wage growth. The bulk of the full- to part-time gap is explained in terms of the fact that women working part-time are much more likely to be entrants to the labour market. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Manning & Helen Robinson, 2004. "Something in the way she moves: a fresh look at an old gap," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 169-188, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:56:y:2004:i:2:p:169-188

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Karen Mumford & Peter N Smith, "undated". "The Gender Earnings Gap in Britain," Discussion Papers 04/05, Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. G. Russo & W.H.J. Hassink, 2005. "The Part-Time Wage Penalty: a Career Perspective," Working Papers 05-01, Utrecht School of Economics.
    3. Elke Wolf, 2014. "The German Part-Time Wage Gap: Bad News for Men," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 663, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Philippe Van Kerm, 2013. "Generalized measures of wage differentials," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 465-482, August.
    5. Barry T. Hirsch, 2005. "Why Do Part-Time Workers Earn Less? The Role of Worker and Job Skills," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(4), pages 525-551, July.
    6. Frenette, Marc & Zeman, Klarka, 2007. "Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007303e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Mumford, Karen A. & Smith, Peter N., 2007. "Assessing the Importance of Male and Female Part-Time Work for the Gender Earnings Gap in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 2981, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Kerly Krillo & Jaan Masso, 2010. "The Part-Time/Full-Time Wage Gap in Central and Eastern Europe: the Case of Estonia," Research in Economics and Business: Central and Eastern Europe, Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, vol. 2(1).
    9. Booth, Alison L. & Francesconi, Marco & Frank, Jeff, 2003. "A sticky floors model of promotion, pay, and gender," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 295-322, April.
    10. Alan Manning & Joanna Swaffield, 2008. "The gender gap in early-career wage growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 983-1024, July.
    11. Colella, Fabrizio, 2014. "Women's Part-Time - Full-Time Wage Differentials in Europe: an Endogenous Switching Model," MPRA Paper 55287, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Uhrig, S.C. Noah & Watson, Nicole, 2014. "The impact of measurement error on wage decompositions: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-24, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    13. Mc Quaid, Ronald & Bergmann, Ariel, 2008. "Employer recruitment preferences and discrimination: a stated preference experiment," MPRA Paper 30801, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Wunderlich, Gaby, 2001. "The changing gender gap across the wage distribution in the UK," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-56, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    15. Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Youth from Lower-income Families Less Likely to Attend University? Evidence from Academic Abilities, Parental Influences, and Financial Constraints," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007295e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    16. Russo, Giovanni & Hassink, Wolter, 2005. "The Part-Time Wage Penalty: A Career Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 1468, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Martin, Daniel & Wiley, Donna & Legree, Peter, 2006. "Ethnocentrism and Internal Compensation Structuring: An Experimental Examination of Point Factor Job Evaluation," MPRA Paper 28683, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Pourquoi les jeunes provenant de familles a plus faible revenu sont-ils moins susceptibles de frequenter l'universite? Analyse fondee sur les aptitudes aux etudes, l'influence des parents et les contr," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 2007295f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    19. Heitmueller, Axel & Inglis, Kirsty, 2004. "Carefree? Participation and Pay Differentials for Informal Carers in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 1273, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Dorrit Posel & Colette Muller, 2008. "Is There Evidence Of A Wage Penalty To Female Part-Time Employment In South Africa?," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 76(3), pages 466-479, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General


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