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Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor? Examining the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution in Urban China, 1987-2004

Chi, Wei and Li, Bo (2007): Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor? Examining the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution in Urban China, 1987-2004.

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Abstract

Using 1987, 1996, and 2004 data, we show that the gender pay gap in the Chinese urban labor market has increased across the wage distribution, and the increase was greater at the lower quantiles. We interpret this as evidence of the “sticky floor” effect.We use the reweighting and recentered influence function projection method proposed by Firpo, Fortin, Lemieux (2005) to decompose gender pay differentials across the wage distribution. We find that the gender differences in the return to labor market characteristics, also known as the “discrimination effect” or “unexplained gender pay gap”, contribute most to the increase in the overall gender pay gap. The Firpo, Fortin, and Lemieux method allows us to further decompose the gender pay gap into the contribution of each individual variable. We find that the “sticky floor” effect may be associated with a particularly low paid group of female production workers with relatively less education working in non-state owned enterprises.

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