IZA DP No. 2796: When Does Transition Increase the Gender Wage Gap? An Application to Belarus
published in: Economics of Transition, 2011, 19 (2), 333-369
This paper suggests an analytical framework to analyse the joint evolution of female participation and wages across countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Former Soviet Union (FSU), of which Belarus is a particular case. In CEE, female participation has reduced relatively more than wages, due to greater wage rigidity; in the FSU, wages have reduced more than participation, due to labour hoarding practices. In Belarus, only wages adjust, since (mainly state owned) firms tend to largely maintain their entire workforce. Underneath slow transition and remarkably stable female participation rates (at over 80%), the unconditional gender gap in log hourly wages has increased by a half, while that in log of net and total monthly wages has more than doubled over almost a decade (1996-2004). The Juhn, Murphy and Pierce (1991) decomposition suggests that the deterioration of women wages is caused by negative changes in observed characteristics (due to horizontal segregation) and in the remuneration for those characteristics. Instead, very bland changes in the residual wage distribution tended to reduce (not to increase) the gender wage gap: in fact, women have benefited both of changes in the degree of wage inequality and of gains in the mean female rank in the male residual distribution.