Male-female differences in labor market outcomes during the early transition to market : the case of Estonia and Slovenia
The authors analyze changes in women's relative wages, using social security data from Slovenia (1987-92) and a retrospective survey of Estonia's labor force (1989-94). Estonia adopted liberal labor market policies. Slovenia took an interventionist approach. Nevertheless, relative wages for women rose in both countries. Actually, real wages fell for both men and women, but women lost less than men did. Certain factorfavored women: 1) Returns to human capital rose during the transition. 2) Relative labor demand shifted toward predominantly female sectors (health, education, financial services, retail trade) and away from traditionally male sectors (agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation). 3) Women with low wages had a disproportionate incentive to exit the labor market, especially in Estonia. Women were less mobile across jobs in both countries, however, so men disproportionately filled new jobs in expanding sectors. Women who remained employed had higher average education levels. Women's relative immobility will tend to reduce their early relative gains. Their relative wages will also continue to fall if their share of the expanding sectors continue to fall.
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