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Y a-t-il vraiment discrimination salariale contre les femmes ?


  • Laure DUTOIT
  • Jean-Christian LAMBELET


Trying to ascertain scientifically the existence and importance of gender-based salary discrimination runs into conceptual and technical difficulties, the implications of which are not always fully appreciated: depending on the approach used, our analysis of a large sample for Switzerland in 1997 concludes that there is significant discrimination against women; or that no discrimination can be detected; or that there is significant discrimination The approaches used are: direct general regression (for given attributes such as qualification levels, do salaries differ according to gender ?); inverse general regression (for a given salary level, do employers require different attributes, such as qualification levels, depending on gender ?); the Oaxaca-Blinder method (the effect of a given attribute - e.g. age or marital status - on salaries may differ depending on gender and one must therefore estimate and compare separate equations for women and for men); Heckman's correction (focusing on working persons only may give rise to a selection bias). Our general conclusion is agnostic : given the present state of techniques and knowledge, it is not (yet ?) possible to ascertain scientifically the existence of gender-based salary discrimination in Switzerland. This conclusion differs from that reached by pre-existing studies, which tended to underpin the existence of salary discrimination against women.

Suggested Citation

  • Laure DUTOIT & Jean-Christian LAMBELET, 2001. "Y a-t-il vraiment discrimination salariale contre les femmes ?," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 01.09, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:01.09

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    gender-based salary discrimination; direct and inverse regressions; the Oaxaca-Blinder approach; Heckman's correction; Switzerland;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C29 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Other

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