Is There a Glass Ceiling Over Europe? An Exploration of Asymmetries in the Gender Pay Gap across the Wages Distribution

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number

DP 1373


Discussion Paper


Publication date

October 1, 2004


Using harmonised data from the European Union Household Panel, we analyse gender pay gaps by sector across the wages distribution for ten countries. We find first, that quantile regression estimates are preferred to the OLS estimates, which give a misleading picture of gender pay gaps. Second, gender pay gaps are typically bigger at the top and the bottom of the wage distribution than in the middle, a finding that is consistent with (whilst not proving) the existence of sticky floors and glass ceilings. Third, the gender pay gap is typically higher at the top than the bottom end of the wage distribution, suggesting that glass ceilings are more prevalent than sticky floors and that these prevail in the majority of our countries.

Related Publications



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest