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Regional differences in gender wage gaps in Poland
The aim of the paper is to analyse the gender wage gap across Polish regions. In the first step
the raw differences between wages of men and women at regional level (NUTS2) are
compared. In the second step, the authors aim to answer a question how much of the gap can
be explained by differences in personal and employment characteristics of workers. Also,
regional analysis of the unexplained part of the wage gap is conducted. The attempt is made to
link the size of the gap to characteristics of the regional labour markets.
The analyses are based on 16 NUTS2 Polish regions over the period 2006-2010. We use a
unique metadata set with individual data on wages and workers’ characteristics combined
from three sources of data: the Structure of Wages and Salaries by occupations survey (SWS),
the Labour force survey (LFS) and the Household Budget Survey (HBS).
The analysis is restricted to occupational groups with nearly balanced gender ratio
(masculinisation ratio between 0.4 and 0.6) to control for potential gender segregation in the
labour market. As far as the methodology is concerned the standard approach of the OaxacaBlinder decomposition was used. The dependent variable was the log of net wage per hour,
among the explanatory variables are both personal characteristics of workers (level of
education, work experience) and employment characteristics (size of the firm, ownership
sector and the NACE section).
The analyses of raw differences in wages of men and women across regions show that
although on the average women in Poland earn only few per cent less than men, the
differences across regions are significant. The highest differences (amounting to several
percent) in wages between men and women are noted in large metropolitan areas. On the
contrary, in some of the less developed eastern regions of Poland the average wages of
women are higher than those of men.
The Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition on the whole sample (16 regions) shows that the
endowments effect is negative indicating that differences in workers characteristics are not
able to explain the differences in wages between men and women in Poland and pointing to
existence of high wage discrimination of women. However, there are considerable differences
at the regional level. In five regions the endowments effect is positive indicating that part of
the differences in wages are due to different characteristics of men and women. These are
mostly the industrial western regions of Poland with relatively high percentage of workers in
mining and shipbuilding industry. On the other hand, the differences in workers’
characteristics were not explaining differences in wages in most of the rural, eastern, less
developed regions of Poland. In these regions the unexplained part of the wage gap is much
higher than the total wage gap pointing to existence of high wage discrimination of women.
The results of the paper indicate that previous estimates of wage discrimination of women in
Poland based on whole population data (see Słoczyński, 2012) seems to be overestimated.
When we separate the effect of segregation of women into less-paid occupations the
discrimination effect is much smaller.