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Gender segregation and wage differentials in India: the role of educational attainment and occupational choices

Tushar Agrawal ( Centre for Development Policy and Management , Indian Institute of Management Udaipur , Udaipur, India)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 25 June 2020

Issue publication date: 10 March 2021




The purpose of this paper is to examine the interrelation between two important dimensions of gender segregation: education and occupation. It further investigates the gender wage gap.


The author uses a three-way additive decomposition of the mutual information index – an index based on the concept of entropy. A non-parametric wage decomposition method that uses matching comparisons is used for measuring the wage gap.


The results show that the extent of gender segregation in India is higher in urban areas than that in rural areas. Most of the observed segregation in rural labour markets originates from educational outcomes, whereas in urban markets it is due to occupational profile of individuals. The findings of the wage decomposition analysis suggest that education in rural areas also explains a sizeable part of the gender wage differential. Nevertheless, a large share of the wage gap remains unexplained in both rural and urban areas.


While much research has looked at occupational segregation, less attention has been paid to educational segregation. The paper uses a unique approach to understand the joint effect of occupation and education in explaining gender segregation.



I am grateful to Associate Editor Prof. Francesco Pastore and three anonymous referees of this journal for their valuable comments, which help to improve the presentation of this paper. I wish to thank Ankush Agrawal for suggestions. Institutional support provided by the Indian Institute of Management Udaipur, Udaipur (India) is gratefully acknowledged.


Agrawal, T. (2021), "Gender segregation and wage differentials in India: the role of educational attainment and occupational choices", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 1-20.



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