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Gender wage discrimination at quantiles


The literature provides several scalar measures of gender wage discrimination that cannot identify whether discrimination is greater among high earners or among low earners. Furthermore, two populations may exhibit the same value of the scalar measure while discrimination could be very differently distributed. We extend Oaxaca’s scalar measure to any quantile of the distribution of wages. Our measure allows comparisons within a population and inter-population. Using the Spanish Survey of Wage Structure we find that gender wage discrimination increases with the quantile index but as a fraction of the gender wage gap reaches a maximum at the ninth percentile.

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Correspondence to Javier Gardeazabal.

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All Correspondence to Javier Gardeazabal. We would like to thank Alberto Abadie and Teo Pérez Amaral for their comments. Financial support from the Basque Government, the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología and Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales (Instituto de la Mujer) is gratefully acknowledged. Javier Gardeazabal would like to thank the Department of Economics of the University of California, Santa Cruz, for its hospitality while part of this work was carried out, and the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Cultura for financing the visit to UCSC. Responsible editor: Daniel Hamermesh.

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Gardeazabal, J., Ugidos, A. Gender wage discrimination at quantiles. J Popul Econ 18, 165–179 (2005).

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JEL classification:

  • J16
  • J31
  • J7


  • Gender discrimination
  • wage gap
  • quantile regression