Gender Wage Inequality in Germany and Great Britain. Results from a Cross-National Comparison between 1991 and 2007
Presidential Department Social Science Research Center Berlin Berlin, Germany
Institute of Sociology University Vienna Vienna, Austria
In this paper the changes in gender wage difference in Germany and Great Britain between 1991 and 2007 will be investigated. The starting point of the analysis is provided by the research on labour markets and welfare states, in which it is suggested that wage differences between man and women are based on the gender specific segmentation of labour markets. As welfare and labour market institutions can be expected not only to influence the extent of overall gender wage inequality but also the way changes in the wage distribution are socially structured, cross-national comparisons are needed to investigate the impact institutional arrangements exert on social inequality. A comparison of Germany and Great Britain is especially useful in this context, since these countries represent different labour market and welfare state regimes.
In the empirical part of the paper, data from the German Socio-Economic-Panel and the British Labour Force Survey are used. The analyses are firstly based on descriptive measures of the development of gender wage inequality. In a second step we use regression analyses of individual and structural determinants of wages for women and men in the years 1991 to 2007. First results show a very high level of the gender wage gap in Germany and Great Britain in the observational period. As Eurostat-data show it is one of the highest in Europe and much higher than, for example, in Southern European welfare states or in Scandinavia. Moreover, we find a relatively clear decrease in gender wage inequality in Great Britain between the early 1990s and 2007, whereas in Germany the gender wage gap remained stable and even slightly increased starting in 2000. We will try to show that those different developments over time are due to different labour market dynamics (e.g. a high gender specific segmentation of the labour market in Germany) and specific regulatory features of the liberal and conservative welfare states in Great Britain and Germany (e.g. the low level of child care in Germany), which influence the earning chances of men and women in characteristic ways.