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Gender-Based Occupational Choices and Family Responsibilities: The Gender Wage Gap in Italy

Andrea Cutillo and Marco Centra

Feminist Economics, 2017, vol. 23, issue 4, 1-31

Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between the gender division of labor, occupational choices, and the gender wage gap in Italy. In Italy, cultural factors and low availability of formal childcare services define gender roles that are generally based on the male breadwinner model, in which childcare is almost completely entrusted to women. The analysis is carried out through an extension of the Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition and is based on data from the 2007 Italian National Institute for Workers’ Professional Development (ISFOL). The results are consistent with gender discrimination on wages and suggest that women’s occupational paths are often an outcome of limited choices, and that women’s unpaid domestic work negatively interferes with the energy women can put into paid work. These findings support the need to ensure gender equality in and out of the labor market, especially through deep changes in Italian social norms and through the development of formal childcare.

Date: 2017
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