Does Investing in Education Reduce the Gender Wage Gap?: A Brazilian Population Study


The main purpose of this paper is to identify the existence of wage discrimination between men and women, focusing on people holding college degrees, which has the potential for a higher gap since it depends not only on qualification but also on promotion rates in the job market. Using public data from National Household Sample Survey (PNAD, IBGE) from 2007 to 2009, we identify the key factors for wage determination due to demographic characteristics and to labor attributes. Then, we quantify how much of the wage discrepancy is explained for each of these personal and job related characteristics using the Ordinary Least Squares and the Quantile Regressions approach, both in a Oaxaca-Blinder set up. The unexplained differences from these estimations are attributed to sex discrimination. The results show that the gender wage gap tends to be higher for individuals who hold a college degree than for the average population (around 54% for the former and 16% for the latter), and that the main salary discrepancies are neither explained by personal characteristics nor by the distinct career paths, suggesting that in the business sector, particularly with regard to high level positions, women face barriers to advancement.