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The gender wage gap in Myanmar: Adding insult to injury?

Henrik Hansen (), John Rand () and Ngu Wah Win
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Ngu Wah Win: Centre for Economic and Social Development, Yangon, Myanmar

No 20-05, DERG working paper series from University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Development Economics Research Group (DERG)

Abstract: Gender wage inequality has been studied for decades, applying highly standardized regression decomposition techniques. It is common to find that education and experience explain small parts of the wage gap while differences in occupation and sector are important. Using three different surveys, all from 2017, we analyse the gender wage gap for urban workers in Myanmar. We start from a standard Mincer-type wage equation in which we condition on the workers level of education and years of experience. Subsequently we control for differences in occupational choice and sector of employment. Finally, we compare wages for men and women with similar characteristics, working in the exact same manufacturing enterprises. Our results show that the urban labour markets in Myanmar stand out as remarkable. In Myanmar, selection into wage work leads to an urban workforce in which the female wage-workers have higher levels of education than their male counterparts. Thus, female workers should, on average, have higher wages than male workers. Even so, the observed gender wage gap is 14-35 percent, depending on the survey analysed. Differences in educational attainment and selection into occupations and sectors cannot account for this wage gap. Instead, it is associated with a lower base wage for women and lower remuneration of women’s experience. Digging deeper, we go beyond the traditional standardized methods and utilize a matched employer-employee dataset to generate one-to-one comparisons of female and male production workers with the same level of education and experience who are employed in the same manufacturing enterprises. Even in this setting, in which the male and female workers are closely matched, we find an average wage gap of 13 percent. Our analysis thus indicates substantial discrimination against women in Myanmar’s urban labour markets, with the situation being worst for uneducated women in low wage jobs.

Keywords: discrimination; gender; labour market; Mincer earnings function; Myanmar; wage gap (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J24 J31 J71 O53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 23
Date: 2020-01-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-sea
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Handle: RePEc:kud:kuderg:2005