The Journal of Economic Inequality

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 527–552 | Cite as

Gender inequalities in pensions: different components similar levels of dispersion

  • Carole BonnetEmail author
  • Dominique Meurs
  • Benoît Rapoport


While the average gender gap in pensions is quite well documented, gender differences in the distribution of pensions have rarely been explored. We show in this paper that pension dispersion is very similar for men and women within the French pension system of a given sector (public or private). Gender differences are less marked among retired civil servants than among former private sector employees. However, the determinants of these inequalities are not the same for men and women. Using a regression-based decomposition of the Gini coefficient, we find that pension dispersion is mostly due to dispersion of the reference wage for all retirees but gender differences exist. For women, in particular, pension dispersion is also due to the dispersion in contribution periods. We also decompose the Gini coefficient by source of pension to measure the impact of institutional rules (minimum pensions, survivor’s pension) on the extent of pension inequality. Unexpectedly, we find that the impact of minimum pensions is limited, although slightly larger for civil servants than for private-sector employees. Survivor’s pension schemes, on the other hand, contribute positively to pension dispersion among retired women.


Decomposition Gender gap Gini coefficient Pension Private and Public sector 


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Financial support from Unsa Education along with IRES is gratefully acknowledged. We thank the participants at the 2014 “Question Retraite Solidarité” workshop in Paris and at the 2015 ECINEQ meeting in Luxembourg for their comments and suggestions. We also thank two anonymous referees for their helpful remarks.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques (INED)ParisFrance
  2. 2.University Paris Ouest Nanterre, EconomixNanterreFrance
  3. 3.University Paris 1 - Panthéon Sorbonne, Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne UMR CNRS, Maison des Sciences EconomiquesParis Cedex 13France

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