May 2011

IZA DP No. 5732: Roma Women in Athenian Firms: Do They Face Wage Bias?

published in: Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2012, 35 (12), 2054-2074

In the current study, we analyze the effect of having a Roma background on women's wages. By utilizing the Athens Area Study random sample (2007-08) drawn from 16 multiethnic municipalities in which Roma live, we estimate that 66.1% of the wage differential between Roma and non-Roma female workers cannot be explained by differences in observed characteristics. Prejudices against Roma women are discussed and appear to explain the wage gap found here. The occupational segregation of the Roma in low-paid jobs and employers' statistical motivations are also found to influence wages earned by Roma. This study concludes that there is a need for better implementations of existing laws, rules and regulations which would counter the discrimination of minority women in the labor market. In addition, a better means of assessing workers' skill may contribute to the reduction of wage discrimination, as well as, greater educational achievement would significantly boost the economic status of Roma women. In its use of a random Roma sample and multivariate analysis, this study is a methodological advancement over previous studies of Roma employment, and it could inspire new efforts to compare wages by Roma background.