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Bridging the Gender Gap: Identifying What Is Holding Self-employed Women Back in Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Republic of Congo

Emily Nix, Elisa Gamberoni, Rachel Heath.Bridging the Gender Gap: Identifying What Is Holding Self-employed Women Back in Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Republic of Congo, The World Bank Economic Review, Volume 30, Issue 3, October 2016, Pages 501-521.

Abstract

Quantile decomposition methods are used to study the determinants of the gender gap in self-employment earnings across the earnings distribution of four Sub-Saharan countries: the Republic of Congo, Ghana, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Techniques developed by Firpo, Fortin, and Lemieux (2007) are used to decompose the gap into a compositional effect (the part of the earnings gap that can be explained by observable factors) and a structural effect (the part of the gap that can be explained by returns to those factors, suggestive of discrimination) at various quantiles of the income distribution. While, in all countries and all points of the wage distribution, compositional effects help explain gender gaps in self-employment earnings, the majority of the wage gap is due to structural effects (with the exception of low-income earners in the Republic of Congo). Still, the relative importance of specific compositional factors and the specific contribution of structural factors varies across countries and at different points of the income distribution within countries. There is some evidence of a glass-ceiling effect in the Republic of Congo and Tanzania but not in Ghana and Rwanda. These results suggest that discrimination is influenced by local conditions and that there is no single model of earnings gaps that can explain gender gaps in earning in sub-Saharan Africa.

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