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Casarico, A. and Lattanzio, S.

What Firms Do: Gender Inequality in Linked Employer-Employee Data

WP Number: 1915

Abstract: This paper investigates the contribution of firms to the gender gap in earnings on average, at different quantiles of the earnings distribution, and over time to shed light on the role of firm pay policies in hindering or reinforcing the gender wage gap and to identify how their impact comes about. Using a linked employer-employee dataset for Italy, we show that the gap in firm pay policies explains on average 30% of the gender pay gap in the period 1995-2015. Sorting of women in low pay firms explains a larger fraction of the gender pay gap than differences in bargaining, on average and at the bottom of the distribution, whereas the latter dominates at the top. Moreover, differences in bargaining have increased in importance over the two decades. To explain sorting, we investigate whether women have a lower probability of moving towards firms with higher pay rates, and find that this is indeed the case. This differential mobility penalises, in particular, highly skilled women and can be related to the variability in wages in destination firms, with women not moving to those with high (unexplained) variance in pay. We also find some evidence that the firm environment as captured by exogenous changes in the gender balance in leadership positions influences the bargaining power of women, indicating that the latter is partly institution-driven.

Keywords: Bargaining, Sorting, Linked Employer-Employee Data, Mobility gap, Gender quotas

JEL Codes: J16 J31 J71

Author links: Salvatore Lattanzio  - Winner of CERF best student paper award

PDF: wp1915.pdf

Open Access Link: 10.17863/CAM.41764