A distribution-sensitive examination of the gender wage gap in Germany

Selezneva, Ekaterina; Van Kerm, Philippe
March 2016
Journal of Economic Inequality;Mar2016, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p21
Academic Journal
This paper provides a new examination of the gender pay gap for Germany based on a family of distribution-sensitive indicators. Wage distributions for men and women do not only differ by a fixed constant; differences are more complex. We show that focusing on the bottom of the wage distribution reveals a larger gender gap. Our distribution-sensitive analysis can also be used to study whether the statistical disadvantage of women in average pay might be 'offset' by lower inequality. Over a broad range of plausible preferences over inequality, we show however that 'inequality-adjusted' estimates of the gap can be up to three times higher than standard inequality-neutral measures in Eastern Germany and up to fifty percent higher in Western Germany. Using preference parameters elicited from a hypothetical risky investment question in our sample, inequality-adjusted gender gap measures turn out to be close to those upper bounds.


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