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Decomposing the gender wage gap with sample selection adjustment: evidence from Colombia


  • Alejandro Badel
  • Ximena Peña


Despite the remarkable improvement of female labor market characteristics, a sizeable gender wage gap exists in Colombia. We employ quantile regression techniques to examine the degree to which current small differences in the distribution of observable characteristics can explain the gender gap. We find that the gap is largely explained by gender differences in the rewards to labor market characteristics and not by differences in the distribution of characteristics. We claim that Colombian women experience both a “glass ceiling effect’’ and also (what we call) a “quicksand floor effect” because gender differences in returns to characteristics primarily affect women at the top and the bottom of the distribution. Also, self selection into the labor force is crucial for gender gaps: if all women participated in the labor force, the observed gap would be roughly 50% larger at all quantiles.

Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Badel & Ximena Peña, 2010. "Decomposing the gender wage gap with sample selection adjustment: evidence from Colombia," Working Papers 2010-045, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2010-045

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Suzanne Duryea & Olga Lucia Jaramillo & Carmen Pagés-Serra, 2003. "Latin American Labor Markets in the 1990s: Deciphering the Decade," Research Department Publications 4331, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Alejandro Hoyos & Ximena Peña & Hugo R. Ñopo, 2010. "The Persistent Gender Earnings Gap in Colombia, 1994-2006," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1802, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices," NBER Working Papers 11628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hugo Ñopo, 2006. "The Gender Wage Gap in Chile 1992-2003 from a Matching Comparisons Perspective," Research Department Publications 4463, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Albrecht, James & van Vuuren, Aico & Vroman, Susan, 2009. "Counterfactual distributions with sample selection adjustments: Econometric theory and an application to the Netherlands," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 383-396, August.
    6. Ximena Peña, 2006. "Assortative Matching and the Education Gap," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 002032, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    7. 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.
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    9. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
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    12. Wendy Cunningham, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Social Policy : Lessons from Developing Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6760.
    13. 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.
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    Wages ; Discrimination in employment ; Colombia;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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