Volume 44, Number 174,
July-September 2013
Salary Gaps in Uruguay: Gender, Segregation
and Unequal Labor Qualifications
Alma Espino

This work sought to re-examine the magnitude of gender labor segregation and skill mismatch, and its impact on salary gaps. The results indicate that gender labor segregation is an important subject in in order to understand the persistence of salary gaps between employees of both genders in Uruguay. Although a considerable portion of the gender salary gap can be explained by the segregation of women into occupations and sectors with lower remuneration, another substantial part of the gap is still attributable to the gender of individuals. Research – as well as policy debate – on gender equality in salaries has paid greater attention to labor segregation than to educational and employment level disparities. However, the probability of being over-qualified is higher for women and on the contrary, the probability of being under-qualified is greater for men. Occupation segregation has a positive impact for both men and women in the probability of over-education. Similar to in other countries, women, unlike men, tend to be over-educated beyond what is required for their occupations, which contributes to the gender salary gap. In other words, the premium earned on education for women is lower, and on top of this, there are effects resulting of salary gap imbalances, such as a penalty for over-education, which affects women to a lesser extent. Salary gaps are an expression of gender inequality linked to a variety of factors both inherent and external to the market. A strictly human capital approach does not explain why these gaps persist, despite the fact that women in the workforce are on average more educated and the differences in work experience between the genders are low. In other words, traditional human capital variables practically explain nothing of the gender salary gap. In fact, with a model that includes merely education and experience, the contribution is negative in the breakdown. Consequently, this may indicate other forms of discrimination, both on the side of supply and demand, as shown here, with segregation and difficulties in obtaining employment that requires higher qualifications. This occurs despite the fact that women are on average more educated. These findings have clear policy implications. If segregation throughout these dimensions accounts for the majority of the gender salary gap, policies that aim for equal job opportunities and promotion and affirmative action would be fundamental in closing this gap. The lack of an analysis of gender occupational segregation in companies does not allow this work to reach more specific policy conclusions, which would likely be linked to collective negotiating.


Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 48, Number 191, October-December 2017 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Alicia Girón González. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: Nov 13th, 2017.
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