Category Archives: Wage Inequalities

Does Geographical Location Matter for Ethnic Wage Gaps?

We know that ethnic minorities in Great Britain are paid less on average than White British people.  We also know that ethnic minorities are more likely to live in deprived areas with lower job opportunities.  Does location matter in shaping ethnic wage gaps?

This research measures ethnic wage gaps by comparing minorities to majority workers in the same local labour market and focuses on the variation of wage gaps across areas. As wage gaps vary across areas, using one single national measure may be misleading. Higher wage gaps across groups are associated with higher occupational segregation and ethnic diversity, while higher wage gaps within groups are associated with higher regional specialisation and proportion of co‐ethnics. Policies could help by improving job location and selection into occupations across groups.

Longhi S. (2020) Does Geographical Location Matter for Ethnic Wage Gaps?, Journal of Regional Science, 60(3): 538-557.

The Diversification of Inequality

We examine intersectionality on the basis of increasingly complex interactions between gender and ethnic groups, which we argue derive from the growing diversity of these groups. While we critique the concept of superdiversity, we suggest that increased diversity leads to a ‘diversification of inequality’. This is characterised by an increasing incidence of inequality through the growth in migration and of the size and variety of ethnic minorities, and by a weakening of specific inequalities. We demonstrate this using the Labour Force Survey and conclude that there is a clear diversification of inequality but also that ethnicity is a more potent source of inequality than gender. Diversity also increases the reach of inequality through producing and increasing the number of intersections.

Brynin M., Longhi S., Zwysen W. (2019) The Diversification of Inequality, British Journal of Sociology, 70(1): 70-89.

Employment and Earning Differences in the Early Career of Ethnic Minority British Graduates

Ethnic minorities in the U.K. are more likely than the white majority to gain university qualifications, but experience worse labour market outcomes on average. This paper compares employment and earnings of British graduates from ethnic minorities to those of white British graduates to analyse whether ethnic labour market differences exist among the highly qualified, and whether they can be explained by differences in parental background, local area characteristics or differences in university careers. These factors account for a substantial part of persistent ethnic differences in earnings, but explain very little of the differences in employment. Compared to the literature estimating ethnic labour market inequalities on people with any level of qualification, we find smaller ethnic differences in employment and almost no differences in earnings among graduates entering the labour market. The results are robust to various changes in model specification.

Zwysen W., Longhi S. (2018) Employment and Earning Differences in the Early Career of Ethnic Minority British Graduates: the Importance of University Career, Parental Background and Area Characteristics, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44(1) 154-172.

Racial Wage Differentials in Developed Countries

In many developed countries, racial and ethnic minorities are paid, on average, less than the native white majority. While racial wage differentials are partly the result of immigration, they also persist for racial minorities of second and further generations. Eliminating racial wage differentials and promoting equal opportunities among citizens with different racial backgrounds is an important social policy goal since inequalities resulting from differences in opportunities lead to a waste of talent and of resources.

Since minority groups segregate in poorly paid occupations and lack career progression, we may have racial wage differentials even in the absence of direct wage discrimination.  Policy should be based on a better understanding of what characteristics and situations prevent racial minorities from moving into better jobs; discrimination and unconscious bias within and outside the workplace may be part of the reason.

Longhi S. (2020) Racial Wage Differentials in Developed Countries, IZA World of Labor, 2020: 365.v2

Here you can listen to the related IZA World of Labor Blog.  Racial wage differentials in developed countries: Simonetta Longhi in discussion with Dan Hamermesh.

The Ethnicity Pay Gap

Research Report for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC):
Longhi, S. and Brynin, M. (2017) The Ethnicity Pay Gap, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Research Report 108.

Here you can listen to a talk and a related podcast on The Ethnicity Pay Gap organised by the Social Market Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) within the Ask the Expert Series.  You can also read a short blog on the Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting published on the ESRC website.

The Effects of Agglomeration on Wages: Micro-Level Evidence

This paper estimates individual wage equations to test two rival non‐nested theories of economic agglomeration, namely New Economic Geography (NEG), as represented by the NEG wage equation and urban economic (UE) theory, in which wages relate to employment density. In the U.K. context, we find that for male respondents, there is no significant evidence that wage levels are an outcome of the mechanisms suggested by NEG or UE theory, but this is not the case for female respondents. We speculate on the reasons for the gender difference.

Fingleton B., Longhi S. (2013) The Effects of Agglomeration on Wages: Micro-Level Evidence, Journal of Regional Science, 53(3) 443-463.

Impact of Cultural Diversity on Wages, Evidence from Panel Data

This paper combines individual data from the British Household Panel Survey and yearly population estimates for England to analyse the impact that cultural diversity has on individual wages. Do people living in more diverse areas earn higher wages after controlling for other observable and unobservable characteristics? The results show that cultural diversity is positively associated with wages, but only when cross-section data are used, while panel data estimations show no impact of diversity. Since natives with comparatively higher skills – and wages – tend to self-select into more diverse areas, cross-section analyses may produce upwardly biassed results.

Longhi S. (2013) Impact of Cultural Diversity on Wages, Evidence from Panel Data, Regional Science and Urban Economics, 43(5) 797-807.

Explained and Unexplained Wage Gaps across the Main Ethno-religious Groups in Great Britain

We analyse the difference in average wages (the so called ‘wage gap’) of selected ethno-religious groups in Great Britain at the mean and over the wage distribution with the aim of explaining why such wage gaps differ across minority groups. We distinguish minorities not only by their ethno-religious background, but also by country (UK or abroad) in which people grew up and acquired their qualifications. We find that within all minority ethno-religious groups the second generation achieves higher wages than the first generation, but the amount that is explained by characteristics does not necessarily increase with generation.

Longhi S., Nicoletti C., Platt L. (2013) Explained and Unexplained Wage Gaps across the Main Ethno-religious Groups in Great Britain, Oxford Economic Papers, 65(2) 471-493.