Language and (the Estimates of) the Gender Wage Gap

In this paper we link the estimates of the gender wage gap with the gender sensitivity of the language spoken in a given country. We find that nations with more gender neutral languages tend to be characterized by lower estimates of GWG. The results are robust to a number of sensitivity checks.


In this paper we link the estimates of the gender wage gap with the gender sensitivity of the language spoken in a given country. We find that nations with more gender neutral languages tend to be characterized by lower estimates of GWG. The results are robust to a number of sensitivity checks.

Our source of estimates for the adjusted gender wage gap is an updated version of the dataset developed by Doris Wichselbaumer and Rudolf Winter-Ebmer for a paper published in Journal of Economic Surveys in 2005 and a paper published in Kyklos in 2008. The original data covers articles published until 2005, whereas we include studies published between 2005 and 2014. In total we added 1197 estimates of the adjusted GWG from 117 new studies for 56 countries.

To ensure continuity, we adopted the same conventions with respect to the language of publication (English) and the search engine (EconLit). We also used the same keywords: “(wage* or salar* or earning*) and (discrimination or differen*) and (sex or gender)”. To test if this search was not excessively narrow, we erased one keyword at a time from the first parenthesis, subsequently erasing the logical connectors (“or” “and”). We included published final or the most recent available versions of articles (chapters and books excluded). The complete list is available upon request.} Similarly to WWE, we excluded incomparable estimates of the adjusted GWG (e.g. non-parametric estimates along the wage distribution).

All the data needed to replicate our analysis is available below. The zip file contains:

  • A csv file with the information on the articles added.
  • Data on language gender intensity come from World Atlas of Language Structures
  • Complete data set (combining meta-data and country characteristics)
  • Do files

Unpublished version

Published version

2015
@article{vandervelde2015language, title = "Language and (the estimates of) the gender wage gap", journal = "Economics Letters", volume = "136", pages = "165 - 170", year = "2015", issn = "0165-1765", doi = "https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2015.08.014", url = "http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165176515003298", author = "Lucas van der Velde and Joanna Tyrowicz and Joanna Siwinska", keywords = "Gender wage gap, Language neutrality, Meta-analysis" }
Wystąpienia | Talks