Gender differences in earnings and labour market participation are stylized facts of labour markets everywhere in the world. Researchers, politicians, and the public are therefore very much interested in this phenomenon. The project selects the U.K. and Germany as two cases of interest to investigate empirically temporal dynamics of employment, working behaviour and earnings of males and females. Both countries faced a general increase of female employment which was accompanied by changing demographic trends, strengthened employment orientations, and an improved human capital accumulation. At the same time, one can observe quite a persistent gender specific occupational choice. In addition, women still on average earn lower wages than men. Interruptions in employment of females during the family phase are decisive for differences in employment chances and earnings of males and females. Therefore, we want to take into account institutional incentives for and consequences of interruptions in employment regarding participation and earnings. The interplay between the change of employment participation and wages, social security incentives and union policies in Germany and the U.K., as well as selection and composition effects in employment behaviour will be analysed to shed more light on the underlying mechanisms of gender specific labour market processes. The comparison of the U.K. and Germany is expected to provide insights into the effects of differences in social security incentives and the impact of different union policies on female employment and wages. Course of the project: We will analyse descriptively employment participation and earnings of males and females in a cohort framework, based on British and German micro data. Investigating wages will include the entire wage distribution because wage differentials are related to the position in the wage distribution or analogously to skill level. Traditional decomposition techniques of the gender gap in mean wages probably mix counteracting effects at different wage levels of the entire wage distribution. Selection and composition effects arising through occupational choice, employment interruptions, as well as alternating part-time and full-time employment episodes will receive special attention. Afterwards, the gender wage gap will be analysed concerning differences in individual characteristics and differences of returns to individual characteristics. The project will be completed by analysing how British and German institutional peculiarities influence employment behaviour, labour market participation and earnings.


Hans-Böckler-Stiftung , Düsseldorf , DE

Project duration

01.01.2000 - 31.12.2001


Gaby Wunderlich

Project members

Prof. Bernd Fitzenberger, Ph.D. (Coordinator)
Gaby Wunderlich

Cooperation partner

Dr. Dorothe Bonjour, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, London, UK
Dr. Christian Dustmann, University College London, London, GB, The Institute for Fiscal Studies, London, UK
Dr. Amanda Gosling, University of Essex, Colchester, GB, The Institute for Fiscal Studies, London, UK
Dr. Hedwig Prey, Forschungsinstitut für Arbeit und Arbeitsrecht, St. Gallen, CH
Dr. Viktor Steiner, ZEW, Mannheim, DE
Elke Wolf, ZEW, Mannheim, DE