The Gender Wage Gap in Myanmar: Adding Insult to Injury?

Research output: Working paperResearch

Gender wage inequality has been studied for decades, applying highly standardized regression decompo-sition techniques. It is common to find that education and experience explain small parts of the wage gapwhile differences in occupation and sector are important. Using three different surveys, all from 2017, weanalyse the gender wage gap for urban workers in Myanmar. We start from a standard Mincer-type wageequation in which we condition on the workers level of education and years of experience. Subsequentlywe control for differences in occupational choice and sector of employment. Finally, we compare wagesfor men and women with similar characteristics, working in the exact same manufacturing enterprises. Ourresults show that the urban labour markets in Myanmar stand out as remarkable. In Myanmar, selectioninto wage work leads to an urban workforce in which the female wage-workers have higher levels of ed-ucation than their male counterparts. Thus, female workers should, on average, have higher wages thanmale workers. Even so, the observed gender wage gap is 14-35 percent, depending on the survey analysed.Differences in educational attainment and selection into occupations and sectors cannot account for thiswage gap. Instead, it is associated with a lower base wage for women and lower remuneration of women’sexperience. Digging deeper, we go beyond the traditional standardized methods and utilize a matchedemployer-employee dataset to generate one-to-one comparisons of female and male production workerswith the same level of education and experience who are employed in the same manufacturing enterprises.Even in this setting, in which the male and female workers are closely matched, we find an average wagegap of 13 percent. Our analysis thus indicates substantial discrimination against women in Myanmar’surban labour markets, with the situation being worst for uneducated women in low wage jobs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesPublications of the Development Economic Research Group (DERG)

ID: 254468352