Social Indicators Research

, Volume 134, Issue 3, pp 981–1008 | Cite as

Regional Differences in the Gender Wage Gap in Spain

  • Ines P. Murillo Huertas
  • Raul Ramos
  • Hipolito Simon


This study examines regional differences in the gender wage gap in Spain using matched employer–employee microdata, two different econometric decomposition methods and panel data techniques. Our findings suggest that Spain shows a significant regional heterogeneity in the size of the raw gap, roughly comparable to cross-country differences observed in the European context. The results from the decomposition analysis show that although the bulk of the gender wage gap in Spanish regions is due to differences in the endowments of productive characteristics between males and females there is still a substantial part of the gap that remains unexplained. The analysis of the causes behind the variation of both, the raw and the unexplained gender wage gap by region highlights that several economic, institutional and demographic elements identified in previous studies analysing international differences in the gender wage gap are also relevant to explain regional differences in the gender wage gap in Spain.


Regional gender wage gaps Decomposition methods Matched employer–employee data Wage setting institutions Industry structure Female working-life decisions 

JEL Classification

J16 J31 J71 R23 E24 



This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under Grants ECO2014-53702-P; CSO2014-55780-C3-2-P and ECO2013-41022-R.


  1. Abowd, J., & Kramarz, F. (1999). Econometric analyses of linked employer–employee data. Labour Economics, 6(1), 53–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alláez, R., & Uribarri, M. (2001). Discriminación salarial por sexo: un análisis del sector privado y sus diferencias regionales en España. ICE Revista de Economía, 789, 117–138.Google Scholar
  3. Altonji, J. G., & Blank, R. M. (1999). Race and gender in the labor market. In O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (Eds.), Handbook of labour economics (Vol. 3, pp. 3143–3259). Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  4. Arulampalam, W., Booth, A. L., & Bryan, M. L. (2007). Is there a glass ceiling over Europe? Exploring the gender pay gap across the wages distribution. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 60, 163–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bande, R., Fernández, M., & Montuenga, V. (2008). Regional unemployment is Spain: Disparities, bussines cycle and wage setting. Labour Economics, 15(5), 885–914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bentolila, S., & Jimeno, J. F. (1998). Regional unemployment persistence (Spain, 1976–1994). Labour Economics, 5(1), 25–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blau, F., & Kahn, L. M. (1992). The gender earnings gap: Learning from international comparisons. American Economic Review, 82(2), 533–538.Google Scholar
  8. Blau, F., & Kahn, L. M. (1995). The gender earnings gap: some international evidence. In R. Freemand & L. Katz (Eds.), Differences and changes in wage structures. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  9. Blau, F., & Kahn, L. M. (1996). Wage structure and the gender earnings differentials: an international comparison. Economica, 63, S29–S62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blau, F. & Kahn, L.M. (2001). Understanding international differences in the gender pay gap, NBER Working Paper 8200.Google Scholar
  11. Blau, F., & Kahn, L. (2006). The gender pay gap: Going, going, going… but not gone. In F. Blau, M. Brinton, & D. Grugsky (Eds.), The declining significance of gender? (pp. 37–66). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  12. Blinder, A. S. (1973). Wage discrimination: reduced forms and structural estimates. Journal of Human Resources, 8, 436–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Christophides, L. N., Polykarpou, A., & Vrachimis, K. (2013). Gender wage gaps, “sticky floors” and “glass ceilings” in Europe. Labour Economics, 21, 86–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chu Ng, Y. (2007). Gender earnings differentials and regional economic development in urban China, 1988–97. Review of Income and Wealth, 53(1), 148–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De la Fuente, A. (2002). On the sources of convergence: A close look at the Spanish regions. European Economic Review, 46, 569–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gannon, B., Plasman, R., & Rycx, F. (2007). Inter-industry wage differentials and the gender wage gap: evidence from European countries. The Economic and Social Review, 38(1), 135–155.Google Scholar
  17. García-Pérez, I., & Jimeno, J. F. (2007). Public sector wage gaps in Spanish regions. The Manchester School, 75(4), 501–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hamermesh, D. (2008). Fun with matched firm-employee data: progress and road maps. Labour Economics, 15(4), 662–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hirsch, B., König, M., & Möller, J. (2013). Is there a gap in the gap? Regional differences in the gender pay gap. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 60(4), 412–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Juhn, C., Murphy, K., & Pierce, B. (1991). Accounting for the slowdown in black–white convergence. In M. Osters (Ed.), Workers and their wages (pp. 107–143). Washington DC: American Enterprise Institute Press.Google Scholar
  21. Juhn, C., Murphy, K., & Pierce, B. (1993). Wage inequality and the rise in returns to skills. Journal of Political Economy, 101, 410–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kaya, E. (2014). Gender wage gap trends in Europe: the role of occupational allocation and skill prices, Cardiff Economics Papers no E2014/23.Google Scholar
  23. Krug, G., & Nisic, N. (2011). Is there an urban wage premium for women? A difference-in-difference analysis using propensity score matching, LASER Discussion Paper no 54.Google Scholar
  24. Loureiro, P., Galrao, F., & Sachida, A. (2004). Race and gender discrimination in the labour market: an urban and rural sector analysis for Brazil. Journal of Economic Studies, 31(2), 129–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McGuinness, S., Kelly, E., O’Connell, P. J., & Callan, T. (2011). The impact of wage bargaining and worker preferences on the gender pay gap. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 17(3), 277–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Murillo Huertas, I. P., & Simón, H. (2014). La Gran Recesión y el diferencial salarial por género en España. Hacienda Pública Española/Review of Public Economics, 208(1), 39–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Neumark, D. (1988). Employers discriminatory behaviour and the estimation of wage discrimination. The Journal of Human Resources, 23, 279–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Oaxaca, R. (1973). Male–female wage differentials in urban labour markets. International Economic Review, 14, 693–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Oaxaca, R. L., & Ransom, M. R. (1994). On discrimination and decomposition of wage differentials. Journalof Econometrics, 61, 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. OECD. (2015). Gender wage gap (indicator). doi:  10.1787/7cee77aa-en. Accessed October 04, 2015.
  31. Olivetti, C., & Petrongolo, B. (2008). Unequal pay or unequal employment? A cross-country analysis of the gender gaps. Journal of Labor Economics, 26, 621–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Olivetti, C., & Petrongolo, B. (2014). Gender gaps across countries: demand, supply and the industry structure. Review of Economic Dynamics, 17(4), 842–859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Phimister, E. (2005). Urban effects on participation and wages: Are there gender differences? Journal of Urban Economics, 58, 513–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Polachek, S. W., & Xiang, J. J. (2014). The gender pay gap across countries: A human capital approach. In E. Redmount (Ed.), The economics of the family: How the household affects markets and economic growth. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.Google Scholar
  35. Ponthieux, S., & Meurs, D. (2015). Gender inequality. In A. B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (Eds.), Handbook of income distribution (Vol. 2, pp. 981–1146). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  36. Ramos, V., Rey-Maquieira, J., & Tugores, M. (2002). Análisis empírico de discriminación por razón de género en una economía especializada en turismo. Annals of Tourism Research en Español, 1, 239–258.Google Scholar
  37. Rendall, M. (2013). Structural change in developing countries: has it decreased gender inequality? World Development, 45, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Robinson, H. (2005). Regional evidence on the effect of the national minimum wage on the gender pay gap. Regional Studies, 39(7), 855–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rubery, J., & Grimshaw, D. (2015). The 40-year pursuit of equal pay: a case of constantly moving goalposts. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 39(2), 319–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Salverda, W., & Checchi, D. (2015). Labour-market institutions and the dispersion of the wage earnings. In B. Atkinson (Ed.), Handbook of income distribution (Vol. 2). Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  41. Schäfer, A., & Gottschall, K. (2015). From wage regulation to wage gap: how wage-setting institutions and structures shape the gender wage gap across three industries in 24 European countries and Germany. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 39(2), 467–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Simón, H. (2012). The gender gap in earnings: And international comparison with European matched employer–employee data. Applied Economics, 44, 1985–1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Simón, H., Ramos, R., & Sanromá, E. (2006). Collective bargaining and regional wage differences in Spain: An empirical analysis. Applied Economics, 38, 1749–1760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ines P. Murillo Huertas
    • 1
  • Raul Ramos
    • 2
  • Hipolito Simon
    • 3
  1. 1.Universidad de ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  2. 2.AQR-IREA, Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Universidad de Alicante-IEI-IEBSan Vicente del RaspeigSpain

Personalised recommendations