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European estimates of the family gap in pay: evidence from the ECHP, BHPS and GSOEP
Despite educational expansion, rising female labour force participation and equal opportunities policies, women's primary responsibility for children and the home have remained unchanged. This paper presents estimates of the penalty in pay associated with motherhood (the 'family gap') for 11 European countries. The first stage of the analysis utilises data from Waves 1 to 5 of the ECHP. Multivariate analyses based upon pooled cross sections of the ECHP indicate that it is within Germany and the UK where the largest family gaps in pay were shown to exist. Several weaknesses of the ECHP data cast doubt as to whether these estimates reflect the true size of the family gap in pay. To address these concerns, we use data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) to test the robustness of the ECHP results and to bring additional insights into the reasons behind the family gaps in pay in these countries. Our analysis for Germany and the UK reveal that career breaks associated with family formation contribute towards lower earnings and that unobserved heterogeneity is of some importance in the German sample, but not for the UK. We conclude with a discussion of how differences institutional structures across countries that support the combination of paid work and caring tasks may contribute to the observed family gaps in pay.
Davies, Rhys, Elias, Peter, Pierre, Gaelle (2003 Feb.) 'European estimates of the family gap in pay: evidence from the ECHP, BHPS and GSOEP', EPUNet-2003 Conference: the conference of the European Panel Users Network: 3-5 July 2003, Colchester,
Rhys Davies, Peter Elias, Gaelle Pierre
Countries included
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom
ECHP Waves
1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Institutions Involved
Uni. of Warwick
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