Women’s earnings between migration status and glass ceilings: a double penalty?

Usamah F. Alfarhan*, Samir Al-Busaidi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the gender earnings gap in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This paper implements conditional counterfactual decomposition analysis to assess the double impact of migration status and gender on skilled womens' relative earnings along earnings' distributions. We show that the earnings' gap declines by 31% between the higher and lower ends of earnings distributions. This decline is in part due to a falling effect of migration, which accounts for 100% of the total gap at the lower end of earnings, and for 50% at the higher end. Increasing effects of glass ceilings account for about 16% of the total gap around the median, and over 37% at the higher end of earnings distributions. Labour market policies that promote equal pay for equal work are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-632
Number of pages4
JournalApplied Economics Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - May 3 2020


  • Distribution
  • counterfactual
  • decomposition
  • earnings gaps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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