Discussion Paper

No. 2015-56 | August 13, 2015
Male-female Labor Market Participation and the Extent of Gender-based Wage Discrimination in Turkey


A gender differential in wages is considered to be discriminatory if the differential cannot be explained by gender differences in productivity. Numerous studies have been performed to measure the extent of gender wage discrimination in countries across the world, and most report a substantial amount of wage differential after adjusting for productivity differences. This differential has been attributed to labor market discrimination against women. Using data from 2003 and 2010 Household Budget Surveys conducted by Turkish Statistical Institute, this study examines the male-female earnings differentials and measures the extent of pay discrimination in Turkey. To analyze the components of the earnings gap, two methodologies are employed: The standard Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition method and the Juhn–Murphy–Pierce decomposition method. The results of the study indicate that in both years, a significant portion of the observed wage differential is attributable to wage discrimination which records a rise over the period.

Data Set

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The data set for this article can be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7910/DVN/VTFJLM

JEL Classification

J16 J31 J70 J71 O15

Cite As

Burak Günalp, Seyit Mümin Cilasun, and Elif Öznur Acar (2015). Male-female Labor Market Participation and the Extent of Gender-based Wage Discrimination in Turkey. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2015-56, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2015-56


Comments and Questions

Anonymous - Comment
August 21, 2015 - 18:31

I read this paper with interest. Although I believe the analyses are somewhat "old school" and the study comprises too few attempts to link it to the international literature on gender discrimination, I believe the results are insightful. I believe the following things should be done in a revision.
1. ...[more]

... The manuscript is not well-written at all. Therefore, I would advise the editor to accept it only conditional on professional language editing.

2. The manuscript is, both with respect to the literature review and with respect to the discussion of the results, too much focused on Turkey. The authors should stress why this study is also relevant with respect to an international audience. In addition, they should compare their results more thoroughly with findings from other countries.

3. The golden standard to measure discrimination in the labour market are nowadays field experiments (Azmat and Petrongolo, 2014; Riach and Rich, 2004). In contrast to “old school” decomposition methods, they allow to disentangle employer discrimination from all supply-side determinants of labour market outcomes. While the authors measures might be biased due to selection (e.g. due to unobserved differences in behaviour and preferences between men and women), this is not an issue when analyzing data from randomised experiments. It is strange that this literature is not even mentioned, given that Economics E-journal recently published Baert (2015), a study contributing to this literature.

3a. I believe the authors should at least mention the limitations of their method compared with the golden standard.

3b. The authors should at least cite some recent contributions to this reference literature with respect to gender discrimination (e.g., Albert et al. 2011; Baert et al., Forthcoming; Petit, 2007; Riach and Rich, 2006).


Albert, R., L. Escot, and J. Fernández-Cornejo (2011). A field experiment to study sex and age discrimination in the Madrid labour market. International Journal of Human Resource Management 22 (2): 351–375.

Azmat, G., and B. Petrongolo (2014). Gender and the Labor Market: What Have We Learned from Field and Lab Experiments? Labour Economics 30 (Special Issue on “What determined the dynamics of labour economics research in the past 25 years?”): 32–40.

Baert, S., A. De Pauw, and N. Deschacht (Forthcoming). Do Employer Preferences Contribute to Sticky Floors? Industrial and Labor Relations Review.

Petit, P. (2007). The effects of age and family constraints on gender hiring discrimination: A field experiment in the French financial sector. Labour Economics 14 (3): 371–391.

Riach, P.A., and J. Rich (2002). Field experiments of discrimination in the market place. Economic Journal 112 (November): F480–F518.

Riach, P.A., and J. Rich (2006). An Experimental Investigation of Sexual Discrimination in Hiring in the English Labor Market. B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (Advances) 5 (2): 1.

Burak Günalp - Reply to Reader Comment
April 11, 2016 - 09:13

see attached file

Anonymous - Reply
April 12, 2016 - 08:10

I thank the authors for their friendly reaction. In case all these engagements are realized in a credible way, I believe this study will be of added value for the audience of Economics E-journal. The second mentioned study by Baert and colleagues is now published in ILR Review (publication year: ...[more]

... 2016, volume number: 69, pages: 714-736).

Anonymous - Referee Report 1
September 15, 2015 - 08:14

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Burak Günalp - Reply to Referee Report 1
April 11, 2016 - 09:01

see attached file

Anonymous - assessment
September 21, 2015 - 18:24

The paper is well-organized and clear. Further, the authors use the JMP as a decomposition method in addition to the “traditional” Oaxaca-Blinder method. The importance of using the JMP decomposition method in the Turkish labor market context is twofold. First, it is an important contribution to the existing literature in ...[more]

... terms of being the first attempt. Second, it is an important instrument to check the sensitivity of the results.

However, there are a few issues deserving attention. First, the literature review section should include examples from all over the world not only from Turkey. Second, the references may be updated to include more recent papers conducted for Turkey. Finally, “exclusion restriction” may be mentioned in the context of Heckman procedure.

Burak Günalp - Reply to Reader Assessment
April 11, 2016 - 09:00

see attached file

Anonymous - Referee Report 2
September 22, 2015 - 11:14

See attached file

Burak Günalp - Reply to Referee Report 2
April 11, 2016 - 09:02

see attached file

Anonymous - Invited Reader Comment
September 29, 2015 - 08:24

see attached file

Burak Günalp - Reply to Invited Reader Comment
April 11, 2016 - 09:11

see attached file