Italian Economic Journal

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 33–90 | Cite as

The Gender Wage Gap Among College Graduates in Italy

  • Daniela PiazzalungaEmail author
Research Paper - Italy and Europe


The paper investigates the gender wage gap among recently graduates, controlling for job and academic variables and for the field of study, as women lag behind in highly remunerative majors. The raw gender differential in hourly wages is 5.6%. Although including academic variables and the field of study—on top of job-related variables—slightly reduces the unexplained gap, the latter still accounts for most of the total difference. Using quantile decomposition, the paper shows that the unexplained gap increases along the wage distribution, indicating a glass ceiling effect. Heterogeneities arise among fields of study: the largest total gap emerges in Law, Political-Social sciences, and Economics-Statistics. In most disciplines, there is a significant unexplained gap—from 3.3% (Medicine), to 8.7% (Law), up to 9.6% (Agriculture)—which constitutes the largest share of the difference, confirming that most of the wage gap remains unexplained also by major. Finally, I use geographical differences to explore the influence of institutional and macro-economic variables, as well as of attitudes towards gender norms. The results indicate that childcare and part-time employment availability are correlated with lower gender wage gaps, while traditional gender norms are associated with higher differentials.


Gender wage gap Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition College graduates Quantile decomposition Field of study Regional differences 

JEL Classification

J16 J31 J71 



This article has benefited from the comments provided by Daniela Del Boca, Maria Laura Di Tommaso, Enrico Rettore, and my former colleagues at FBK-IRVAPP. I would like to thank the editor and the referees for their time and valuable remarks.


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Copyright information

© Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.IZABonnGermany
  3. 3.CHILD-Collegio Carlo AlbertoTurinItaly
  4. 4.FBK-IRVAPPTrentoItaly

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