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Reassessing the Gender Wage Gap: Does Labour Force Attachment Really Matter? Evidence from Matched Labour Force and Biographical Surveys in Madagascar

  • Christophe Nordman

    ()

    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • François Roubaud

    ()

    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

(english) Differences in labour force attachment across gender are important to explain the extent of the gender earnings gap. However, measures of women's professional experience are particularly prone to errors given discontinuity in labour market participation. For instance, the classical Mincerian approach uses potential experience as a proxy for actual experience due to lack of appropriate data. Such biases in the estimates cannot be ignored since the returns to human capital are used in the standard decomposition techniques to measure the extent of gender-based wage discrimination. Matching two original surveys conducted in Madagascar in 1998 - a labour force survey and a biographical survey 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 an upward reappraisal of returns to experience, as potential experience always exceeds actual experience, for both males and females. In addition, controlling for further qualitative aspects of labour force attachment, we obtain a significant increase in the portion of the gender gap explained by observable characteristics. _________________________________ (français) Les différences constatées dans la participation au travail des hommes et des femmes peuvent en partie expliquer les disparités de revenus. Cependant, l’expérience professionnelle des femmes est particulièrement sujette aux erreurs de mesures du fait des interruptions répétées qui jalonnent leur parcours professionnel. Faute de données appropriées, la grande majorité des études sur ce thème doit se contenter d’approcher l’expérience effective dans l’emploi par l’expérience potentielle. Ces erreurs de mesure sont d’autant plus gênantes que les rendements du capital humain sont ensuite mobilisés par les techniques standard de décomposition pour apprécier l’ampleur des discriminations salariales suivant le genre. L’appariement de deux enquêtes réalisées à Madagascar en 1998 – une enquête emploi et une enquête biographique, nous permet de combiner les informations des deux sources, notamment les revenus du travail de la première et l’ensemble de la trajectoire professionnelles de la seconde. Nos résultats conduisent à une réévaluation à la hausse des rendements de l’expérience, aussi bien pour les hommes que pour les femmes. De plus, la part de l’écart de revenus suivant le genre expliquée par les caractéristiques observables des individus augmente significativement.

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File URL: http://www.dial.ird.fr/media/ird-sites-d-unites-de-recherche/dial/documents/publications/doc_travail/2005/2005-06
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Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2005/06.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200506
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