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Reassessing the Gender Wage Gap in Madagascar: Does Labor Force Attachment Really Matter?


  • Christophe J. Nordman
  • François Roubaud


In the labor economics literature, it has been argued that differences in labor force attachment across gender are important to explain the extent of the gender wage gap. However, measures of women's work experience are particularly prone to errors given discontinuity in labor market participation. Using proxy measures such as potential experience may lead to biased estimates of the returns to human capital. Such biases cannot be ignored since these returns are used in the standard decomposition techniques to measure the extent of gender-based wage discrimination. By matching two original surveys conducted in Madagascar in 1998-a labor force survey and a biographical survey-we built a unique data set that enabled us to combine the original information gathered from each of them, particularly the earnings from current employment and the entire professional trajectories. Our results lead to a reassessment of the returns to human capital as potential experience always exceeds actual experience for both males and females. By using actual experience, we obtain a significant increase in the portion of the gender earnings gap explained by observable characteristics, while the differences in average actual experience across sexes lead to markedly different estimates of the fraction of the gender gap explained by experience. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Christophe J. Nordman & François Roubaud, 2009. "Reassessing the Gender Wage Gap in Madagascar: Does Labor Force Attachment Really Matter?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 785-808, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:57:y:2009:i:4:p:785-808

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12203 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Christophe Nordman & Faly Rakotomanana & Anne-Sophie Robilliard, 2009. "Gender Disparities in the Malagasy Labour Market," Working Papers DT/2009/08, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    3. Nordman, Christophe J. & Pasquier-Doumer, Laure, 2015. "Transitions in a West African labour market: The role of family networks," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 74-85.
    4. Nordman, Christophe J. & Rakotomanana, Faly & Roubaud, François, 2016. "Informal versus Formal: A Panel Data Analysis of Earnings Gaps in Madagascar," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 1-17.
    5. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7386 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Julia Vaillant & Michael Grimm & Jann Lay & François Roubaud, 2014. "Informal sector dynamics in times of fragile growth: The case of Madagascar," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), pages 437-455.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10596 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kuepie, Mathias & Nordman, Christophe J. & Roubaud, François, 2009. "Education and earnings in urban West Africa," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 491-515, September.
    9. Christophe J. Nordman & François-Charles Wolff, 2009. "Gender differences in pay in African manufacturing firms," Working Papers hal-00421227, HAL.
    10. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12204 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Levasseur, Pierre, 2017. "The ambiguous causal relationship between body-mass and labour income in emerging economies: The case of Mexico," MPRA Paper 81933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Richard U. Agesa & Jacqueline Agesa & Andrew Dabalen, 2013. "Sources of the Persistent Gender Wage Gap along the Unconditional Earnings Distribution: Findings from Kenya," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 76-103, March.
    13. Christophe Nordman & Laure Pasquier-Doumer, 2012. "Vocational Education, On-the-Job Training and Labour Market Integration of Young Workers in Urban West Africa," Working Papers DT/2012/13, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    14. Christophe Jalil Nordman & Laure Pasquier-Doumer, 2017. "Vocational Education, On-the-Job Training and Labour Market Integration of Young Workers in Urban West Africa," Working Papers hal-01620253, HAL.

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