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Women in Transition: Changes in Gender Wage Differentials in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

Elizabeth Brainerd
Industrial and Labor Relations Review
Vol. 54, No. 1 (Oct., 2000), pp. 138-162
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.2307/2696036
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2696036
Page Count: 25
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Women in Transition: Changes in Gender Wage Differentials in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
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Abstract

Under state socialism, women fared relatively well in the labor market: female-male wage differentials were similar to those in the West, and female labor force participation rates were among the highest in the world. Have these women maintained their relative positions since the introduction of market reforms? The author investigates this question using household surveys from seven formerly socialist countries. The results indicate a consistent increase in female relative wages across Eastern Europe, and a substantial decline in female relative wages in Russia and Ukraine. Women in the latter countries have been penalized by the tremendous widening of the wage distribution in those countries. Increased wage inequality in Eastern Europe has also depressed female relative wages, but these losses have been more than offset by gains in rewards to observed skills and by an apparent decline in discrimination against women.

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