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Glass Ceilings, Sticky Floors or Sticky Doors? A Quantile Regression Approach to Exploring Gender Wage Gaps in Sri Lanka

  • Dileni Gunewardena
  • Darshi Abeyrathna
  • Amalie Ellagala
  • Kamani Rajakaruna
  • Shobana Rajendran

Recently developed counterfactual techniques that combine quantile regression with a bootstrap approach allow for the interpretation of lower quantiles of the "simulated unconditional wage distribution" as if they related to poor people. We use this approach to analyse gender wage gaps across the wage distribution in Sri Lanka using quarterly labour force data from 1996 to 2004. Male and female wages are equal at the overall mean, but differ greatly between public and private sectors and across the wage distribution. We find that differences in the way identical men and women are rewarded in the labour market more than account for the difference in wages throughout the distribution. We find evidence of wider wage gaps at the bottom of the distribution in both sectors (indicative of "sticky floors"), but little evidence of larger gaps at the top of the distribution ("glass ceiligs"). Conditional wage gaps increase when controls for occupation, industry and part-time employment status are included, consistent with females selecting into occupations that better reward their characteristics. Policies that address gender bias in wage setting - especially in the low and unskilled occupations - are indicated, while policies that address gender bias in hiring and in workplace practices are likely to be more appropriate than policies that seek to improve womens' productivity-enhancing characteristics in reducing the gender wage gap.

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Paper provided by PEP-PMMA in its series Working Papers PMMA with number 2008-04.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:pmmacr:2008-04
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