Empirica, Vol. 40, Issue 4, pp. 585-606, 2013

The Gender Wage Gap in Austria: Eppur si muove!

We examine the change of the gender wage gap in Austria between 2002 and 2007 using Juhn et al. (Workers and their wages, AEI Press, Washington DC, pp 107–143, 1991) decomposition. We analyze data from Austrian tax records which we merge with social security records and Austrian micro-censuses of the years 2002 and 2007. We find that the gender wage gap declined from 21 % in 2002 to 18 % in 2007. The main determinant of this decline is the relative improvement of women’s unobserved characteristics. The decline of the gender wage gap is also due to women having attained more formal education and to a convergence of men’s and women’s returns to education. Women’s improved educational attainments were partly offset by a shift in the demand for skilled workers that disadvantaged unskilled workers, most of whom are women, resulting in a moderate decrease of the gender pay gap over these years. Robustness checks confirm our results.