Journal Article

Ethnicity and gender in the labour market in Central and South-Eastern Europe

Niall O’Higgins

in Cambridge Journal of Economics

Published on behalf of Cambridge Political Economy Society

Volume 39, issue 2, pages 631-654
Published in print March 2015 | ISSN: 0309-166X
Published online February 2015 | e-ISSN: 1464-3545 | DOI:
Ethnicity and gender in the labour market in Central and South-Eastern Europe

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The Roma are both the largest ‘minority’ ethnic group in Central and South-Eastern Europe (CSEE) and the one that suffered most from transition to the market. Still today, nearly 40 years after the introduction of the European Union (EU) 1975 Discrimination Directive and with the end of the ‘Roma Decade’ (2005–15) in sight, people from the Roma minority have unemployment rates far above—and employment rates and wages far below—those of majority populations. One issue that has received relatively little attention concerns the ‘double’ discrimination facing Roma women. Not only do Roma women face poorer employment and wage outcomes in the labour market than non-Roma women, in most CSEE countries the gender earnings gap is significantly larger amongst Roma compared to non-Roma. This paper seeks to analyse and explain differences in the gender gap in the earnings of Roma. The paper employs a non-parametric matching approach to identify the main factors underlying the gender difference. Educational attainment plays a relatively small role, explaining only around one-fifth of the gap. Industrial and occupational segregation appear to be playing a strong role as do the civil status of individuals, household socio-economic status and whether or not individuals live in a predominantly Roma community.

Keywords: Gender; Discrimination; Roma; Labour market; J15; J16

Journal Article.  11509 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Demographic Economics

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