The paper examines the wage gap between women and men in the public sector during their entire careers. An analysis of cross-sectional data shows that the women–men wage ratio decreases monotonically until age 50. An analysis of panel data indicates that the gap is due largely to the fact that as a whole, men joined the public sector, mainly at an advanced age, and took positions that typically have higher wages than those of women. On-the-job promotion during the employees’ careers was a relatively minor factor. No evidence was found that men who joined the public sector received a different wage premium than women, given their salary in their previous place of employment. The increase of the wage gap as a function of employees' ages reflects a difference in their wages in their previous workplaces.

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