Gender Pay Gaps, Cost of Motherhood, and Evaluations of Just Earnings: The Case of Poland

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Zbigniew KARPINSKI, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Kinga WYSIENSKA-DI CARLO, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
The gender wage gap in Poland is among the lowest in OECD countries, and existing analyses show that the gap has not changed substantially over time. This may suggest that neither legislative changes in antidiscrimination protections for women nor trends in economic growth have much effect on gender inequalities in Poland. We propose that the stability in estimates of the adjusted gender wage gap may be related to parenthood status (motherhood penalties and fatherhood premia) rather than simply gender. Using nationally representative panel survey data from Poland (POLPAN), which cover the period from 1988-2013, we estimate fixed effect models to account for the effects of changes in family status on wages. Our results show that, for both men and women, having children has a positive effect on wages. We observed, however, a significant and negative interaction between weekly working hours and the number of children. That is, women working shorter hours actually benefit from having a child, but for women working longer hours an additional child has an adverse effect (after controlling for human capital and job related characteristics). We interpret those results in the context of double-standards theory. To complement our analysis, we also provide results of a multi-factorial design study of just earnings conducted in 2017 on a representative sample of Polish respondents currently in the labor force. This study, which yielded almost 38,000 observations, confirms the hypothesis that mothers are perceived as less deserving than non-mothers, especially in high status jobs.