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Ethnic and gender wagedisparities in Sri Lanka

  • Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan
  • Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep
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    The authors examine wage inequalities in Sri Lanka's formal sector using data from the Sri Lanka Integrated Survey 1999-2000. The study aims to: a) investigate whether the labor market is characterized by wage disparities among ethnic and gender groups; b) identify the determinants of wages and the factors that affect the wage differential; c) analyze the determinants of wages across the conditional wage distribution; and d) disaggregate the ethnic or gender wage disparities where observed into a component affected by the endowment of productive characteristics, as well as a component affected by the returns to those productive characteristics in the labor market. The authors find that ethnicity is not a significant determinant of wages. The result is robust to different specifications. In addition, ethnicity is not significant in any of the emotional quantiles estimated. However, there is gender disparity in wage rates in Sri Lanka. The magnitude of this disparity varies depending on the worker's ethnicity. This gender wage disparity varies by about 10 percent for Tamils and 48 percent among other ethnicities. In addition, the authors find that much of the gender disparity is not explained by productive characteristics, implying that discrimination against women may play a role. The quantile regression estimates indicate that the premium paid to male workers in the labor force is more pronounced in the upper conditional wage rate distribution.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2859.

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    Date of creation: 30 Jun 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2859
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    1. Mueller, Richard E., 1998. "Public-private sector wage differentials in Canada: evidence from quantile regressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 229-235, August.
    2. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "The Gender gap in top corporate jobs," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 3-21, October.
    3. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
    4. Mason, Patrick L, 1999. "Male Interracial Wage Differentials: Competing Explanations," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 261-99, May.
    5. George Psacharopoulos, 1985. "Returns to Education: A Further International Update and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 583-604.
    6. MartÌn Rama, 2003. "The Sri Lankan Unemployment Problem Revisited," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 510-525, 08.
    7. van de Walle, Dominique & Gunewardena, Dileni, 2001. "Sources of ethnic inequality in Viet Nam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 177-207, June.
    8. Gunderson, Morley, 1989. "Male-Female Wage Differentials and Policy Responses," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 46-72, March.
    9. 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.
    10. David Dunham & Sisira Jayasuriya, 2000. "Equity, Growth and Insurrection: Liberalization and the Welfare Debate in Contemporary Sri Lanka," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 97-110.
    11. Marshall, Ray, 1974. "The Economics of Racial Discrimination: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 849-71, September.
    12. R. N. Olsen & A. Coppin, 2001. "The Determinants of Gender Differences in Income in Trinidad and Tobago," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(5), pages 31-56.
    13. Athula Ranasinghe & Joop Hartog, 1997. "Investment in Post-Compulsory Education in Sri Lanka," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-021/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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