Few studies have attempted to gauge the magnitude of discriminatory treatment of women in Pakistan in financial terms. In spite of the existence of a large number of such studies in the West, as documented by Gunderson (1989), this has been a neglected area of research in Pakistan. It is this void in the literature that this dissertation has tried to fulfill.
The first chapter offers a background to the rest of the dissertation. It provides a variety of statistics on the country, and addresses the status of women in Pakistan as well as in the rest of the Third World. Adescription of statistical procedures used to estimate the gender earnings gap is provided in Chapter Two. The chapter explains in depth, an innovative modification to the standard Oaxaca technique suggested by Cotton (1988) and Neumark (1988), which is the basis for much of the estimates provided in this dissertation.
Chapter Three is the first of the empirical chapters, and provides an analysis of the male-female earnings differential for Rawalpindi. It is followed by a similar analysis for Karachi in Chapter Four. One of the significant results determined from the Karachi data is that the earnings gap is much lower in Karachi than it is in the rest of the country, and even in Western countries.
With a view to taking a broader look at discriminatory patterns in the country, chapter five uses data from the Household Income and Expenditure Surveys for three different years, to provide a nation-wide estimate of the earnings gap. Separate estimates are also provided for each province, and for rural and urban areas. The results indicate the existence of considerable earnings differences between men and women, after controlling for productivity characteristics. However, the magnitudes of these differentials are in line with what is generally found in Western countries. Quite heartening is evidence that the earnings differential appears to be declining with time.
Chapter six digresses from the main focus of this dissertation by estimating earnings differentials based on the ethnic origin of respondents. Using the same data as in Chapter Four for Karachi, the analysis focuses on five ethnic groups: Muhajirs, Punjabis, Pathans, Baluchis and Sindhis. The finding that there is little difference in earnings which can be traced to ethnic origin is a welcome result. With high emotions in Karachi where charges of nepotism and favouritism based on ethnic background are frequently hurled, the results of this chapter can help dispel such notions.
It is only natural that having investigated the male-female earnings differential for two major cities as well as for the country as a whole, attention should shift abroad. In Chapters Seven and Eight, this is precisely what is done. In the former, estimates of the earnings gap are made for six countries: Sweden, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. In Chapter Eight, separate estimates for a period of twenty two years are presented for the United States. An appendix brings together many relevant statistics for Pakistan from various sources.
The research embodied in this chapter is the first to investigate male-female earnings differential for Pakistan. A comparison with western countries provides a basis for putting in perspective, the discriminatory magnitudes reported for Pakistan.