Gender wage gaps: a study of causes and components

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Management and International Business (MIB)
Despite decades of fights, gender wage gap remains a major issue in the fight toward gender equality. Using data taken from various sources and dataset, I tested the presence of an eventual relationship between explained wage gap and its unadjusted version, to verify if the most common definition of wage gap due to discrimination can be reliably sustained. Furthermore, a recent theory that attributes up to 80% of the gender gap to child-bearing, which was tested with Danish data, has been tested for other countries, possibly giving policy-makers something more solid to work on when trying to reduce or eliminate the gap. Moreover, I tried to discern the relationship between education and gender differences in wages, work rate and participation rate to the workforce. The results of the tests done show that explained wage gap is indeed correlated with unadjusted gap which reduces the usefulness of the indicator for policy making. Child-bearing is also confirmed as having a strong effect on gender issues but not, as expected via gender gap but by respectively reducing the participation rate of women and the percentage of men that work part-time, while increasing the percentage of women working part-time and the participation rate of men. Finally, education was shown to have perverse effect on gender wage gap, increasing it, but at the same time increasing the participation rate for all gender but especially for women. In this study childbearing and education were studied separately in their effects, but it would be interesting to collect data that would permit to test them together to analyse their combined effect. In conclusion this paper manages to find some interesting relationships between education, childbearing and gender issues, opening questions regarding the cause behind those already mentioned relationships.
Thesis advisor
Diehl, Marjo-Riitta
gender wage gap, education, gender equality, gender issues, childbearing
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