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The Gender Wage Gap in Europe: Job Preferences, Gender Convergence and Distributional Effects

Listed author(s):
  • Redmond, Paul

    ()

    (ESRI, Dublin)

  • McGuinness, Seamus

    ()

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

The gender wage gap has declined in magnitude over time; however, the gap that remains is largely unexplained due to gender convergence in key wage determining characteristics. In this paper we show that the degree of gender convergence differs across countries in Europe. Most, if not all, of the wage gap is unexplained in some countries, predominantly in Eastern Europe, while in some central and peripheral countries, differences between the characteristics of males and females can still explain a relatively large proportion of the wage gap. We investigate whether gender differences relating to job preferences play a role in explaining the gender wage gap. We find that females are more motivated than males to find a job that is closer to home and offers job security, whereas males are motivated by financial gain. The average gender wage differential in Europe is 12.2 percent and gender differences in job preferences are associated with a 1.3 percentage point increase in the wage gap. We find that preferences explain more of the gender wage gap than the individual components relating to age, tenure and previous employment status. A quantile decomposition reveals that job preferences play a greater role in explaining the wage gap at the top of the wage distribution.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10933.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10933
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  1. Cristina Quintana-García & Marta M. Elvira, 2017. "The Effect of the External Labor Market on the Gender Pay Gap among Executives," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 70(1), pages 132-159, January.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2017. "The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(3), pages 789-865, September.
  3. Joanna K. Swaffield, 2007. "Estimates Of The Impact Of Labour Market Attachment And Attitudes On The Female Wage," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(3), pages 349-371, 06.
  4. Christofides, Louis N. & Polycarpou, Alexandros & Vrachimis, Konstantinos, 2013. "Gender wage gaps, ‘sticky floors’ and ‘glass ceilings’ in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 86-102.
  5. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  6. Claudia Goldin, 2014. "A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(4), pages 1091-1119, April.
  7. Alexandre Mas & Amanda Pallais, 2016. "Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements," Working Papers id:11391, eSocialSciences.
  8. Alan Manning & Farzad Saidi, 2010. "Understanding the Gender Pay Gap: What's Competition Got to Do with it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 681-698, July.
  9. Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & Mathias G. Sinning, 2014. "Distributional Changes in the Gender Wage Gap," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 67(2), pages 335-361, April.
  10. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2003. "Motivation, expectations and the gender pay gap for UK graduates," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 42, Royal Economic Society.
  11. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
  12. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 953-973, 05.
  13. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 163-186, January.
  14. SeEun Jung, 2017. "The gender wage gap and sample selection via risk attitudes," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 318-335, May.
  15. repec:taf:applec:v:48:y:2016:i:43:p:4098-4111 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
  17. Matt L. Huffman & Joe King & Malte Reichelt, 2017. "Equality for Whom? Organizational Policies and the Gender Gap across the German Earnings Distribution," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 70(1), pages 16-41, January.
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