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Women in Transition: Changes in Gender Wage Differentials in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

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  • Elizabeth Brainerd

Abstract

Under state socialism, women fared relatively well in the labor market: female-male wage differentials were similar to those in the West, and female labor force participation rates were among the highest in the world. Have these women maintained their relative positions since the introduction of market reforms? The author investigates this question using household surveys from seven formerly socialist countries. The results indicate a consistent increase in female relative wages across Eastern Europe, and a substantial decline in female relative wages in Russia and Ukraine. Women in the latter countries have been penalized by the tremendous widening of the wage distribution in those countries. Increased wage inequality in Eastern Europe has also depressed female relative wages, but these losses have been more than offset by gains in rewards to observed skills and by an apparent decline in discrimination against women.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Brainerd, 2000. "Women in Transition: Changes in Gender Wage Differentials in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 138-162, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:54:y:2000:i:1:p:138-162
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    1. Atkinson,Anthony Barnes & Micklewright,John, 1992. "Economic Transformation in Eastern Europe and the Distribution of Income," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521438827, October.
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    3. Zeljko Bogetic & Louise Fox, 1993. "Incomes Policy During Stabilization: A Review and Lessons from Bulgaria and Romania," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 35(1), pages 39-57, April.
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    5. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1992. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Learning from International Comparisons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 533-538, May.
    6. John A. Bristow, 1996. "The Bulgarian Economy in Transition," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 752, September.
    7. Redor,Dominique, 2010. "Wage Inequalities in East and West," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521134149, August.
    8. de Melo, Martha & Denizer, Cevdet & Gelb, Alan, 1996. "From plan to market : patterns of transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1564, The World Bank.
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