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The Gender Wage Gap: A Comparison of Australia and Canada

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  • Michael P. Kidd
  • Michael Shannon

Abstract

Using data from the 1989 Canadian Labour Market Activity Survey and, for Australia, the 1989–90 Income Distribution Survey, the authors investigate the reasons for the significantly lower gender wage gap in Australia than in Canada. Key similarities and differences between these two countries, the authors argue, make them a good basis for a “natural experiment†to investigate the effects of different labor market institutions. In particular, Australia has a stronger union movement and a greater degree of centralization in wage determination than Canada, and most of its workers are covered by legally binding minimum working conditions. The authors conclude that several differences between the countries in labor market structure—notably, a lower rate of return to education, a lower rate of return to labor market experience, and a lower level of wage inequality in Australia than in Canada—are largely responsible for the smaller gender wage gap in Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael P. Kidd & Michael Shannon, 1996. "The Gender Wage Gap: A Comparison of Australia and Canada," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(4), pages 729-746, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:49:y:1996:i:4:p:729-746
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    Cited by:

    1. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 2001. "The Persistence of the Female Wage Disadvantage," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 34(1), pages 33-52.
    2. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:789-865 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kingsley R. Browne, 1999. "An evolutionary account of women's workplace status," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7-8), pages 427-440.
    4. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2017. "The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(3), pages 789-865, September.
    5. Browning, Martin & Crossley, Thomas F., 2001. "Unemployment insurance benefit levels and consumption changes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-23, April.
    6. Hanna Jung & Joonmo Cho, 2016. "Quality of Jobs for Female Workers: A Comparative Study of South Korea and Australia," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(1), pages 1-22, March.
    7. Svenja Gärtner, 2013. "German Stagnation vs. Swedish Progression: Gender Wage Gaps in Comparison, 1960-2006," LIS Working papers 586, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    8. Liu, Pak-Wai & Zhang, Junsen & Chong, Shu-Chuen, 2004. "Occupational segregation and wage differentials between natives and immigrants: evidence from Hong Kong," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 395-413, February.
    9. Meng, Xin & Kidd, Michael P., 1997. "Labor Market Reform and the Changing Structure of Wage Determination in China's State Sector during the 1980s," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 403-421, December.
    10. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 106-144, January.
    11. Blackaby, D. H. & Murphy, P. D. & O'Leary, N. C., 1999. "The payment of public sector workers in the UK: reconciliation with North American findings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 239-243, November.
    12. Damian Grimshaw, 2000. "Public Sector Employment, Wage Inequality and the Gender Pay Ratio in the UK," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 427-448.
    13. Amita Majumder & Chayanika Mitra, 2017. "Gender Bias in Education in West Bengal," Journal of Quantitative Economics, Springer;The Indian Econometric Society (TIES), vol. 15(1), pages 173-196, March.
    14. Ross Finnie & Ted Wannell, 2004. "Evolution of the gender earnings gap among Canadian university graduates," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(17), pages 1967-1978.

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