Économie et Statistique n° 464-465-466 - Inequalities and Discriminations: measurement issues Indirect approaches: discrimination as an unexplained component of inequalities - Experimental approach: the contribution of testing - Subjective approaches: measuring felt discriminations
Do wages depend on the gender of the boss?
Do female bosses promote better pay equality between men and women? It is possible, however, that even if they wanted to promote more equality, they may lack the power to do so, not only for implementing such policies but also for improving the wages of all their subordinates, both men and women. Basing our research on the SalSa survey (employees' opinions of wages) and the COI survey (organisational change), we show that wage differentials between men and women are indeed lower when the boss is a woman. However, this position is associated with lower wages in general for all subordinates. The relatively low wages under a female manager may be linked with selection bias: perhaps it is easier for women to become bosses in those sectors, jobs or services that are less valued, and where wages are lower. Even when applying more checks on measurable selection effects, employees with a female boss receive 2.5 to 4% less than those with a male boss. On the other hand, although this phenomenon requires fuller confirmation, this wage difference according to the gender of the boss seems to be greater for male employees than for female employees. Under a female boss, the male-female differential seems as a result to be reduced by between 30% and 85%. Interpretation of this phenomenon is still only in the early stages. Four avenues are suggested: unobserved differences between male and female supervisory positions; for the same hierarchical position, the impact of individual characteristics correlated with the gender of the boss; different aptitudes of men and women with regard to negotiation and competition, and finally, discriminatory behaviour on the part of companies in relation to the requirements of women.