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Empirical studies have documented the existence of the public‐private pay differentials in both developed and developing countries. The implementation of policies aiming to reduce this gap has however been mitigated or inconclusive. This paper exploits the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) in Ghana as a natural experiment to examine the effectiveness of wage policies in developing countries. The SSPP was implemented in 2010 by the Government of Ghana to address the public‐private sector wage gap and improve productivity in the public sector. Using a quantile treatment effect approach based on a difference‐in‐difference estimation, we show that the SSPP has yet to reduce the wage gap between the public and private sectors across the entire distribution of earnings in Ghana. The improvement observed is only at the lower tail of the distribution of earnings. However, the SSPP has a larger effect on the earnings of female workers than that of males in the education and health services sectors while male workers have benefited more in the administration sector, suggesting that the policy was successful in reducing the gender wage gap in the education and health services sectors but has widened this gap in the administration sector. Moreover, the SSPP has decreased the productivity of workers across the distribution of earnings, mainly due to a decrease in the effort of female public sector workers in the education and health sectors and male workers in the administration sector. (JEL C31, G15, J24, J31, J45)
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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