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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

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  • Christophe Nordman

    (DIAL, IRD-Paris)

  • François Roubaud

    (DIAL, IRD-Paris)

Abstract

Assessing gender inequalities has become one of the key issues of the new international poverty reduction strategies implemented in most LDCs in the past few years. It has been argued that 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, where potential experience is used as a proxy for actual experience due to lack of appropriate data, has its limits in estimating the true returns to human capital. 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. By matching two original surveys conducted in Madagascar in 1998 - a labour force survey and a biographical survey - we built a unique dataset that 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, while the differences in average actual experience across sexes lead to markedly different estimates of the fraction of the gender earnings gap explained by experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Christophe Nordman & François Roubaud, 2005. "Reassessing the Gender Wage Gap: Does Labour Force Attachment Really Matter? Evidence from Matched Labour Force and Biographical Surveys in Madagascar," Working Papers 16, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2005-16
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    3. KUEPIE Mathias & DZOSSA Anaclet Désiré & KELODJOUE Samuel, 2013. "Determinants of labor market gender inequalities in Cameroon, Senegal and Mali: the role of human capital and the fertility burden," LISER Working Paper Series 2013-08, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).
    4. Ssebagala, Richard, 2007. "Wage Determination and Gender Discrimination in Uganda," Research Series 150483, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender wage gap; returns to human capital; labour force participation; biographical data; Madagascar.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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