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Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor? Examining the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution in Urban China, 1987-2004

  • Chi, Wei
  • Li, Bo

Using 1987, 1996, and 2004 data, we show that the gender pay gap in the Chinese urban labor market has increased across the wage distribution, and the increase was greater at the lower quantiles. We interpret this as evidence of the “sticky floor” effect.We use the reweighting and recentered influence function projection method proposed by Firpo, Fortin, Lemieux (2005) to decompose gender pay differentials across the wage distribution. We find that the gender differences in the return to labor market characteristics, also known as the “discrimination effect” or “unexplained gender pay gap”, contribute most to the increase in the overall gender pay gap. The Firpo, Fortin, and Lemieux method allows us to further decompose the gender pay gap into the contribution of each individual variable. We find that the “sticky floor” effect may be associated with a particularly low paid group of female production workers with relatively less education working in non-state owned enterprises.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 3544.

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Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:3544
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  1. Melly, Blaise, 2005. "Decomposition of differences in distribution using quantile regression," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 577-590, August.
  2. Vera A. Adamchik & Arjun S. Bedi, 2003. "Gender pay differentials during the transition in Poland," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(4), pages 697-726, December.
  3. Margaret Maurer-Fazio & James Hughes, 2002. "The Effects of Market Liberalization on the Relative Earnings of Chinese Women," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 460, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Meng, Xin & Miller, Paul, 1995. "Occupational Segregation and Its Impact on Gender Wage Discrimination in China's Rural Industrial Sector," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 136-55, January.
  5. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
  6. Xin Meng & Junsen Zhang & Pak-Wai Liu, 2000. "Sectoral gender wage differentials and discrimination in the transitional Chinese economy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 331-352.
  7. Hiau Joo Kee, 2006. "Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor? Exploring the Australian Gender Pay Gap," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(259), pages 408-427, December.
  8. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dong, Xiao-yuan & Bowles, Paul, 2002. "Segmentation and discrimination in China's emerging industrial labor market," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 170-196.
  10. Dong, Xiao-Yuan & MacPhail, Fiona & Bowles, Paul & Ho, Samuel P. S., 2004. "Gender Segmentation at Work in China's Privatized Rural Industry: Some Evidence from Shandong and Jiangsu," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 979-998, June.
  11. Xin Meng, 1998. "Gender occupational segregation and its impact on the gender wage differential among rural-urban migrants: a Chinese case study," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(6), pages 741-752.
  12. Thomas Lemieux, 2002. "Decomposing changes in wage distributions: a unified approach," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(4), pages 646-688, November.
  13. 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.
  14. Stephen G. Donald & David A. Green & Harry J. Paarsch, 2000. "Differences in Wage Distributions Between Canada and the United States: An Application of a Flexible Estimator of Distribution Functions in the Presence of Covariates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 609-633.
  15. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  16. Meng, Xin, 1998. "Male-female wage determination and gender wage discrimination in China's rural industrial sector," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 67-89, March.
  17. Björn Gustafsson & Shi Li, 2000. "Economic transformation and the gender earnings gap in urban China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 305-329.
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