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The Gender Wage Gap in Portugal: Recent Evolution and Decomposition


  • Pilar González

    () (CETE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

  • Maria Clementina Santos

    () (CETE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

  • Luís Delfim Santos

    () (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)


Using data from the Personnel Records (Quadros de Pessoal) for the period 1985-2000, we analyse the gender wage gap in Portugal. We estimate wage discrimination and endowment differentials using four decomposition methods. Our main concern is to analyse the key factors that lie behind the persistent gender pay gap despite the deep changes that characterise the recent evolution of the Portuguese labour market and the high female participation rate that exists in the country. Moreover, using the Neumark methodology, we discuss the relative contribution of different factors in explaining the gender pay gap. The results suggest that, in accordance with previous international research, the measured discrimination differential dominates the estimated endowment differential. Over time, a relevant discrimination gap persisted and it didn’t show any tendency to decrease. Results are also consistent in showing that the most important difference in attributes to explain the gender pay gap is the way how males and females are distributed by sector of industry. As to human capital variables, their relative importance to the explanation of the gender pay gap has reduced sharply, particularly along the 90’s.

Suggested Citation

  • Pilar González & Maria Clementina Santos & Luís Delfim Santos, 2005. "The Gender Wage Gap in Portugal: Recent Evolution and Decomposition," CEF.UP Working Papers 0505, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:cetedp:0505

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    2. Anne Plasman & Robert Plasman & Michael Rusinek & François Rycx, 2001. "Indicators on gender pay equality: the Belgian presidency's report," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9805, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Kevin Reilly & Tony Wirjanto, 1999. "Does More Mean Less? The Male/Female Wage Gap and the Proportion of Females at the Establishment Level," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 906-929, August.
    4. Kiker, B. F. & Santos, Maria C., 1991. "Human capital and earnings in Portugal," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 187-203, September.
    5. Kimberly Bayard & Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth Troske, 2003. "New Evidence on Sex Segregation and Sex Differences in Wages from Matched Employee-Employer Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 887-922, October.
    6. Anne Plasman & Robert Plasman & Michael Rusinek & François Rycx, 2002. "Indicators on gender pay equality," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 45(2), pages 11-40.
    7. George E. Johnson & Gary Solon, 1984. "Pay Differences Between Women's and Men's Jobs: The Empirical Foundations of Comparable Worth Legislation," NBER Working Papers 1472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Vieira, José António Cabral & Cardoso, Ana Rute & Portela, Miguel, 2003. "Recruitment and Pay at the Establishment Level: Gender Segregation and the Wage Gap in Portugal," IZA Discussion Papers 789, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
    10. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
    11. Johnson, George & Solon, Gary, 1986. "Estimates of the Direct Effects of Comparable Worth Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1117-1125, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pilar González & Maria Clementina Santos & Luís Delfim Santos, 2007. "Education and Gender Wage Differentials in Portugal: What Can We Learn From an Age Cohort Analysis?," CEF.UP Working Papers 0701, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    2. Luís Delfim Santos & José Varejão, 2006. "Employment, Pay and Discrimination in the Tourism Industry," FEP Working Papers 205, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

    More about this item


    Labour market; discrimination; wage differential; gender;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General

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