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Exploring the Gap

Abstract

The difference between the income received by women and men in New Zealand from employment is widely recognised. Often referred to as the “gender wage gap”1 , this income differential has prevailed despite changes in society’s attitudes towards women in employment and increasing numbers of women in paid work. What then can this difference be attributed to? Is it structural factors such as age and occupation, or are there other, un-measurable, factors at work?

Confining itself to the wages and salaries of women and men in full-time employment, this paper presents some of the results of recent analysis conducted by Statistics New Zealand’s Analytical Support Division. Using data from the 1997 New Zealand Income Survey and several different multivariate techniques, this analysis attempts to explore some of the factors behind this “earnings gap”.

This research first explores the factors responsible for prescribing the level of earnings for all people in full-time employment, then uses these results in a process of standardisation to attempt to explain the differences in income received by women and men. The results leave much scope for both discussion and a continuation of analysis.

Note:
This analysis was prepared for, and is contained within, New Zealand Now: Women (1998 Edition).

This paper (in a modified format) was presented at the 8th Conference of Labour, Employment and Work, Victoria University of Wellington, 27 November 1998. Standardisation results may differ slightly from that published in the conference proceedings due to a revision of results.

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