IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bos/wpaper/wp2005-008.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Unequal pay or unequal employment? A cross-country analysis of gender gaps

Author

Listed:
  • Claudia Olivetti

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Barbara Petrongolo

    (London School of Economics CEP, CEPR and IZA)

Abstract

There is substantial international variation in gender pay gaps, from 25-30% in the US and the UK, to 10-20% in a number of central and northern EU countries, down to an average of 10% in southern EU. We argue that non-random selection of women into work across countries may explain part of such variation. This ides is supported by the observed variation in employment gaps, from 10% in the US, UK and Scandinavian countries, to 15-25% in northern and central EU, up to 30-40% in southern EU and Ireland. If women who are employed tend to have relatively high-wage characteristics, low female employment rates may become consistent with low gender wage gaps simply because low-wage women would not feature in the observed wage distribution. We explore this idea across the US and EU countries estimating gender gaps in potential wages. In order to do this, we recover information on wages for those not in work in a given year by simply making assumptions on the position of the imputed wage observations with respect to the median, not on the actual level. Imputation is based on wage observations from nearest available waves in the sample and/or observable characteristics of the nonemployed. We estimate median wage gaps on the resulting imputed wage distributions. Our estimates for 1999 deliver higher median wage gaps on imputed rather than actual wage distributions for most countries in the sample, meaning that, as one would have expected, women tend on average to be more positively selected into work than men. However, this di¤erence is tiny or virtually zero in the US and northern and central EU countries (except Ireland), and becomes sizeable in Ireland, France and southern EU, all countries in which gender employment gaps are high. In particular, in Spain, Portugal and Greece the median wage gap on the imputed wage distribution reaches 20 log points, a closely comparable level to that of the UK and other central and northern EU countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2005. "Unequal pay or unequal employment? A cross-country analysis of gender gaps," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-008, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2005-008
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-177, January.
    2. Blau, Francine D & Beller, Andrea H, 1992. "Black-White Earnings over the 1970s and 1980s: Gender Differences in Trends," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 276-286, May.
    3. Ghazala Azmat & Maia Güell & Alan Manning, 2006. "Gender Gaps in Unemployment Rates in OECD Countries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 1-38, January.
    4. Charles F. Manski, 1989. "Anatomy of the Selection Problem," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 343-360.
    5. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 163-186, January.
    6. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    7. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-293, March.
    8. O'Neill, June, 1985. "The Trend in the Male-Female Wage Gap in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 91-116, January.
    9. Richard Blundell & Amanda Gosling & Hidehiko Ichimura & Costas Meghir, 2007. "Changes in the Distribution of Male and Female Wages Accounting for Employment Composition Using Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 323-363, March.
    10. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259, Elsevier.
    11. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    12. De la Rica Goiricelaya, Sara & Dolado, Juan J. & Llorens, Vanessa, 2005. "Ceilings and Floors? Gender Wage Gaps by Education in Spain," DFAEII Working Papers 2005-01, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    13. Manski, C.F., 1990. "The Selection Problem," Working papers 90-12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    14. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    15. 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.
    16. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "Wage Structure and Gender Earnings Differentials: An International Comparison," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 29-62, Suppl..
    17. Derek Neal, 2004. "The Measured Black-White Wage Gap among Women Is Too Small," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 1-28, February.
    18. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    19. James Albrecht & Aico van Vuuren & Susan Vroman, 2004. "Decomposing the Gender Wage Gap in the Netherlands with Sample Selection Adjustments," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-123/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    20. Blau Francine D & Kahn Lawrence M, 2007. "The Gender Pay Gap," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 4(4), pages 1-6, June.
    21. Amitabh Chandra, 2003. "Is the Convergence of the Racial Wage Gap Illusory?," NBER Working Papers 9476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-694, July.
    23. Francis Vella, 1998. "Estimating Models with Sample Selection Bias: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 127-169.
    24. Gronau, Reuben, 1974. "Wage Comparisons-A Selectivity Bias," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1119-1143, Nov.-Dec..
    25. Lewbel, Arthur, 2007. "Endogenous selection or treatment model estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 777-806, December.
    26. Casey B. Mulligan & Yona Rubinstein, 2004. "The Closing of the Gender Gap as a Roy Model Illusion," NBER Working Papers 10892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    28. Nicole M Fortin, 2005. "Gender Role Attitudes and the Labour-market Outcomes of Women across OECD Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 416-438, Autumn.
    29. Casey B. Mulligan & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Selection, Investment, and Women's Relative Wages Over Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1061-1110.
    30. Smith, James P & Ward, Michael, 1989. "Women in the Labor Market and in the Family," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 9-23, Winter.
    31. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "The dynamics of changes in the female wage distribution in the USA: a quantile regression approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 1-30.
    32. Chinhui Juhn, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121.
    33. Heinze, Anja & Beninger, Denis & Beblo, Miriam & Laisney, François, 2003. "Measuring Selectivity-Corrected Gender Wage Gaps in the EU," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-74, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Marjan Petreski & Nikica Blazevski & Blagica Petreski, 2014. "Gender Wage Gap when Women are Highly Inactive: Evidence from Repeated Imputations with Macedonian Data," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 393-411, December.
    2. Seneviratne, Prathi, 2020. "Gender wage inequality during Sri Lanka’s post-reform growth: A distributional analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    3. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 1, pages 1-102, Elsevier.
    4. D’Haultfœuille, Xavier & Maurel, Arnaud & Zhang, Yichong, 2018. "Extremal quantile regressions for selection models and the black–white wage gap," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 203(1), pages 129-142.
    5. Picchio, Matteo & Mussida, Chiara, 2011. "Gender wage gap: A semi-parametric approach with sample selection correction," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 564-578, October.
    6. Christopher Bollinger & James P. Ziliak & Kenneth R. Troske, 2011. "Down from the Mountain: Skill Upgrading and Wages in Appalachia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 819-857.
    7. Patricia Gallego Granados, 2019. "The Part-Time Wage Gap across the Wage Distribution," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1791, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Wang, Le, 2017. "What can we learn about the racial gap in the presence of sample selection?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 199(2), pages 117-130.
    9. Claudia Olivetti, 2008. "Gender and the Labour Market: An International Perspective and the Case of Italy," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 98(3), pages 3-32, May-June.
    10. Chzhen, Yekaterina & Mumford, Karen, 2011. "Gender gaps across the earnings distribution for full-time employees in Britain: Allowing for sample selection," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 837-844.
    11. 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.
    12. Coral Río & Carlos Gradín & Olga Cantó, 2011. "The measurement of gender wage discrimination: the distributional approach revisited," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 9(1), pages 57-86, March.
    13. James Albrecht & Aico van Vuuren & Susan Vroman, 2004. "Decomposing the Gender Wage Gap in the Netherlands with Sample Selection Adjustments," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-123/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    14. Michael Bar & Seik Kim & Oksana Leukhina, 2015. "Gender Wage Gap Accounting: The Role of Selection Bias," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(5), pages 1729-1750, October.
    15. Casey B. Mulligan & Yona Rubinstein, 2005. "Selection, Investment, and Women's Relative Wages Since 1975," NBER Working Papers 11159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Alison L. Booth, 2006. "The Glass Ceiling in Europe: Why Are Women Doing Badly in the Labour Market?," CEPR Discussion Papers 542, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    17. Booth, Alison L., 2009. "Gender and competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 599-606, December.
    18. Richard Blundell & Amanda Gosling & Hidehiko Ichimura & Costas Meghir, 2007. "Changes in the Distribution of Male and Female Wages Accounting for Employment Composition Using Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 323-363, March.
    19. Antonczyk, Dirk & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Sommerfeld, Katrin, 2010. "Rising wage inequality, the decline of collective bargaining, and the gender wage gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 835-847, October.
    20. Yekaterina Chzhen & Karen Mumford, "undated". "Gender Gaps Across the Earnings Distribution in Britain: Are Women Bossy Enough?," Discussion Papers 09/27, Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2005-008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Program Coordinator). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/decbuus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.