Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap

Lawrence M. Kahn

in Gender, Inequality, and Wages

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199665853
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745805 | DOI:

Series: IZA Prize in Labor Economics

Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap

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Using microdata for twenty-two countries over the 1985–94 period, this chapter shows that more compressed male wage structures and lower female net supply are both associated with a lower gender pay gap, with an especially large effect for wage structures. Reduced-form specifications indicate that the extent of collective bargaining coverage is also significantly negatively related to the gender pay gap. Together, the wage compression and collective bargaining results suggest that the high wage floors that are associated with highly centralized, unionized wage setting raise women's relative pay, since women are at the bottom of the wage distribution in each country.

Keywords: gender pay gap; wage differentials; wage inequality; labour market institutions

Chapter.  14169 words. 

Subjects: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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