Conference Paper European Society for Population Economics Conference
Job Mobility and the Gender Wage Gap in Italy
23 Jun 2006
This paper explores a newly available Italian panel dataset obtained from a 1:90 sample of social security administrative records (INPS) to investigate whether observed differences in the characteristics of workers and firms, and observed differences in job mobility are able to explain gender differences in log wage growth. We focus on the wage growth of individuals aged 15-30, a crucial period in the formation of lifetime earnings. We find that there is a significant and growing pay differential between men and women during their early careers, and that between-firm wage growth is substantially higher for men than for women. Controlling for individual observed and unobserved heterogeneity does not reduce, instead exacerbates the effect of a firm change on the gender wage growth gap. On the other hand, when we take into account the type of industry, occupation, and the size of the firm workers move to when changing employer we see a reduction of the unexplained gender differential. We also find that women are not always penalized with respect to men, but this occurs only for positive wage changes, for the highest wage increases, and when women move towards larger firms. These results suggest that job and firm characteristics, rather than across-the-board discrimination, are the most important determinants of the gender wage growth differential in the Italian labour market.