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Occupational Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap in Private- and Public-Sector Employment: A Distributional Analysis*

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  • *

     The authors thank Gigi Foster, Roger Koenker and participants at the 2005 Labour Econometrics Workshop and the Economic Seminar Series at the Australian National University for helpful suggestions and comments. This article uses unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The HILDA Project was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (MIAESR). The findings and views reported in this article, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to either FaHCSIA, the MIAESR, the Banco de la República (Central Bank of Colombia) or its Board of Directors.

Juan D. Barón, Calle 33 No. 3-123, Centro, Banco de la República, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Email: jbaronri@banrep.gov.co

Abstract

We use the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia data from 2001 to 2006 to analyse the source of the gender wage gap across public- and private-sector wage distributions in Australia. We are particularly interested in the role of gender segregation within sector-specific occupations in explaining relative wages. We find that, irrespective of labour market sector, the gender wage gap among low-paid, Australian workers is more than explained by differences in wage-related characteristics. The gender wage gap among high-wage workers, however, is largely unexplained in both sectors suggesting that glass ceilings (rather than sticky floors) may be prevalent. Gender differences in employment across occupations advantage (rather than disadvantage) all women except those in high-paid jobs, whereas disparity in labour market experience plays a much more important role in explaining relative private-sector wages. Finally, disparity in educational qualifications and demographic characteristics are generally unimportant in explaining the gender wage gap.

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