Wage differentials between native and immigrant women in Spain: Accounting for differences in support

  • Nicodemo C
  • Ramos R
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to quantify the wage gap between
native and immigrant women in Spain, taking into account differences in
their characteristics and the need to control for common support. If
immigrant women are segregated in occupations with few native women, it
is important to take this into account to analyse wage differentials
between both collectives.
Design/methodology/approach - Microdata from the Continuous Sample of
Working Histories (Muestra Continua de Vidas Laborales) on wages and
other personal characteristics such as gender, country of origin, and
age were used to apply the matching procedure and the decomposition of
the wage gap, along the lines of Nopo, for the analysis of wage
differentials between native and immigrant women. The advantage of this
procedure is that one can simultaneously estimate the common support and
the mean counterfactual wage for the women on the common support (i.e.
comparing native and immigrant women with similar observable
characteristics). In addition, differences not only at the mean but also
along the entire wage distribution can be described.
Findings - The results obtained indicate that, on average, immigrant
women earn less than native women in the Spanish labour market. This
wage gap is bigger when immigrant women from developing countries are
considered, but the authors' main finding is that an important part of
this wage gap is related to differences in common support (i.e.
immigrant women are segregated in certain jobs with low wages different
from those occupied by native women). If the need to control for common
support is neglected, estimates of the wage gap will be biased.
Originality/value - Studying the case of Spain is particularly
interesting because it is a country with abundant and recent
immigration. Immigrant women account for more than half of the total
immigrants in Spain, and unlike other host countries, they come from a
highly varied range of countries, with origins as diverse as Latin
America, the Maghreb and Eastern Europe. To the authors' knowledge, no
other study has explicitly focused on the analysis of the wage
differential of immigrant women in the Spanish labour market by taking
into account the need to control for common support. Moreover, published
papers illustrating the potentiality of Nopo's methodology are also very

Author-supplied keywords

  • Common support
  • Counterfactual decomposition
  • Immigrants
  • Immigration
  • Labour market
  • Pay
  • Quantile regression
  • Spain
  • Women

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