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Self-employment and wage difference an analysis for Brazil

Marco Túlio Aniceto França (Business School, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Gustavo Saraiva Frio (Business School, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Mariza Bethanya Dalla Vecchia Korzeniewicz (Business School, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 3 June 2020

Issue publication date: 2 July 2020




The aim of this study is to evaluate the wage gap between men and women who seek self-employment in Brazil, whether because they want to become entrepreneurs out of necessity or because of the flexible hours.


The data used are from the 2015 National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) and the methods are the ordinary least squares (OLS) for the Mean and the unconditional quantile regression (RIF-regression) for the distribution of gains of both genders, both associated with the Oaxaca–Ransom decomposition in order to separate the differential between the part explained by attributes and the unexplained part.


The main results show that women earn less than men in the mean and throughout the distribution. The average difference is 27.79%, varying between 19.24 and 48.26% in the distribution. The inclusion of occupational variables shows that the glass door phenomenon exists even in self-employment, that is, women choose occupations with lower incomes.


Stimulating self-employment has been an alternative policy for the insertion of women in the labor market. This is the first study on the wage gap in self-employment in the Brazilian labor market. The presence of wage differentials among self-employed men and women throughout the distribution may point to the need for specific policies that not only target the mean. These policies would be related to sticky floor and to the glass ceiling. Another potential problem concerns the so-called glass door–women access the labor market via professions that pay less, otherwise, the problem points to occupational segregation against women.

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This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) Finance Code 001.


França, M.T.A., Frio, G.S. and Korzeniewicz, M.B.D.V. (2020), "Self-employment and wage difference an analysis for Brazil", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 47 No. 6, pp. 727-745.



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