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The wage penalty induced by part-time work: the case of Belgium

Maria Jepsen, Síle O'Dorchai (), Robert Plasman () and Francois Rycx ()

No 05-17, DULBEA Working Papers from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: Substantial research has been devoted to the estimation and explanation of the gender wage gap. The effects of work status on wages have been studied somewhat less. This article draws on existing work to generate new estimates of the wage penalty associated with part-time employment in Belgium. Given the fact that women remain the primary caregivers, almost solely in charge of housework, part-time employment has often been presented as an ideal solution for those wanting to combine family and professional responsibilities. However, parttime employment has many flaws, not the least of which is the wage penalty it induces. On the basis of the 1995 Structure of Earnings Survey (SES), we estimate the wage gap between part-time and full-time work for a sample of women only. Based on our results, we advance explanations related to human capital and productivity differences, types of job and industry branches, personal characteristics of part-timers, etc. We also compare the results with earlier results for Belgium based on the European Community Household Panel (ECHP). The unexplained part of the part-time wage gap allows us to assess the degree to which labour markets discriminate against part-timers. The existence of such discrimination suggests that equal opportunities policies should focus not only on labour market conditions but also on a more equal sharing of domestic work between men and women.

Keywords: female labour supply; work status; part-time employment; wage gap; decomposition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J21 J22 J24 J31 J71 C31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eec and nep-lab
Date: 2005
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