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Why do women still earn less than men? Decomposing the Dutch gender pay gap, 1996-2006


  • E. Fransen
  • J. Plantenga
  • J.D. Vlasblom


Despite major improvements in women’s labour market attachment, women still earn considerably less than men. International research shows that the persistence of the gender pay gap may be due to the fact that although the gap in characteristics between men and women is diminishing, changes in the wage structure counteract this change. This article will study whether this ‘swimming upstream’ phenomenon is also playing a role in the rather slow convergence between male and female wages in The Netherlands. Our results indicate that this is not the case; most of the changes in the Dutch wage structure have been rather favourable to women. The lacking convergence in wages has to be explained from the fact that despite the favourable changes, the Dutch wage structure still contains a considerable implicit gender bias.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Fransen & J. Plantenga & J.D. Vlasblom, 2010. "Why do women still earn less than men? Decomposing the Dutch gender pay gap, 1996-2006," Working Papers 10-09, Utrecht School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1009

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    gender pay gap; wage structure; human capital; discrimination;

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