Gender inequality in earned incomes and in living standards A comparison between France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United-Kingdom
The staring point of the paper is the dramatic difference between the level of gender inequality measured on the basis of earned incomes or measured on the basis of living standards. The first part analyses the gender gap in earned incomes; a decomposition of this gap shows that the three main factors of gender inequality in earnings - activity rates, part-time employment and the wage gap - operate very differently in the five countries compared. The second part examines the sequence going from individuals' earned incomes to their living standards and how it results in near equality between men and women. To analyze this sequence, an intermediary notion of family equivalent earned income is implemented; it allows to highlight the contrasted effect, for men and for women, of intra-household transfers as they are assumed by the standard methodology used in the measurement of living standards. This results in almost no gender inequality in living standards. A decomposition of the Gini coefficient shows that the share of gender inequality in the total inequality of living standards is reduced to almost nothing. The paper concludes with a discussion of the questions raised by this disappearance of gender inequality.