Collective Bargaining and the GenderWage Gap: A Quantile Regression Approach
Several studies have found that in those countries where the wage structure is more egalitarian, the gender wage gap is lower. Also, a negative relationship between the level of collective bargaining centralization and the degree of wage inequality has been found: more centralised bargaining seems to lead to lower wage gaps. In this paper we study how the gender wage gap changes throughout the distribution of wages as a function of the level of collective bargaining by which workers are covered, using quantile regression estimation methods. Our main results indicate that women at the bottom of the wage distribution are subject to less discrimination when they are covered by sectoral (national or regional) agreements, while, at the upper part of the distribution, women under firm agreements suffer less discrimination. These results are consistent with the Median Voter Theorem: at the sectoral level, agreed wages are only minimum wages and unions seem to be more concerned about workers at the bottom of the distribution, so wage compression is more effective there. Hence, wage is close to agreed tariffs, resulting in a smaller wage differential and lower discriminatory component. On the other hand, when bargaining is conducted at the firm level, unions have a greater control over the contracts signed and the reduction in wage dispersion is more effective over the whole distribution. Therefore, differences in the discriminatory component are not so important.
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