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The Public-Private Sector Wage Differential: Gender, Workplaces and Family Friendliness

  • Monojit Chatterji
  • Karen Mumford
  • Peter N Smith

This study examines the role of individual characteristics, occupation, and workplace features accounting for differences in hourly earnings between male and female fulltime employees in the public and private sectors. Using new linked employeeemployer data for Britain in 2004, we find that the nature of the public private pay gap differs between genders and that of the gender pay gap differs between sectors. The analysis shows that essentially none of the gender earnings gap in both the public and private sector can be explained by differences in observable characteristics. Decomposition analysis further reveals that the contribution of differences in workplace characteristics to the public private earnings gap is sizeable and significant. Whilst the presence of performance related pay and company pension schemes is associated with higher relative earnings for those in the private sector, the key workplace characteristic for the public private pay gap is the presence of familyfriendly employment practices. Increased provision is associated with higher relative earnings in the public sector for both men and women.

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Paper provided by Economic Studies, University of Dundee in its series Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics with number 202.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dun:dpaper:202
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  1. Filipe Almeida-Santos & Karen Mumford, 2005. "Employee Training And Wage Compression In Britain," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 73(3), pages 321-342, 06.
  2. Bhaskar, V & To, Ted, 1999. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 190-203, April.
  3. Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark & Melissa McInerney, 2008. "Changes in Workplace Segregation in the United States between 1990 and 2000: Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data," NBER Chapters, in: The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, pages 163-195 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2005. "The Public Pay Gap in Britain: Small Differences That (Don't?) Matter," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/121, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  5. Lucifora C. & Meurs D., 2004. "The Public Sector Pay Gap in France, Great Britain and Italy," Working Papers ERMES 0403, ERMES, University Paris 2.
  6. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  7. Helen Simpson, 2007. "Productivity in Public Services," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 07/164, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  8. Chatterji, Monojit, 2008. "Training hold up and social labour markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 202-214, April.
  9. Richard Disney & Amanda Gosling, 1998. "Does it pay to work in the public sector?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(4), pages 347-374, November.
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