Three essays on gender wage discrimination, female labor force participation and the returns of private and public education in urban Peru, 1985-2000
Basay, Rosario Angela
Fundamental factors that contribute to labor income differences in Latin America include unequal access to market work, inequality in the distribution of quality education, and differentiated compensation for equal work. My dissertation focuses on specific research questions within these general analytical areas: the incidence of gender wage discrimination in the labor market in urban Peru during 1985 and 2000, the identification of the most important factors that influence female labor force participation, and the analysis of the returns to private versus public education during those years. Our results show that women's decision to participate in the labor market strongly depends on education and demographic aspects, and the condition of being head of the household. Also the labor reforms of 1991 and 1994 influenced female labor force participation, changing the incentives for younger women to participate in market work. Despite their increased participation, women in Peru earn less than men, even when their productive characteristics are comparable; the upper bound level of wage discrimination was found to be significant and worthy of the attention of policy makers. Our estimations also show that an additional year of formal schooling increases earnings in 10% for the survey years, and that attending public schools represents a decrease in earnings compared to attending private schools, with differentiated impact per level of education.