Trends in Earnings Differentials by Gender

Andrea H. Beller and Lawrence M. Kahn

in Gender, Inequality, and Wages

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199665853
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745805 | DOI:

Series: IZA Prize in Labor Economics

Trends in Earnings Differentials by Gender

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This chapter examines trends in the gender wage gap. The first section uses data from the Current Population Surveys to analyze trends from the 1970s. The gender wage ratio significantly decreased during the 1970s, with declining gender role specialization and discrimination (as conventionally measured) contributing to the decrease. The second section uses Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics data to study the substantial narrowing of the gap in the 1980s, and the slowing convergence in the 1990s. Convergence in human capital and occupations of women and men contributed to the narrowing in both decades. The largest factor accounting for the slowdown in the 1990s was a much faster reduction of the ‘unexplained’ gender wage gap in that decade. The evidence suggests that changes in labour force selectivity, changes in gender differences in unmeasured characteristics and labour market discrimination, and changes in the favourableness of demand shifts each contributed to the slowing convergence of the unexplained gender pay gap.

Keywords: gender pay gap; wage differentials; occupational segregation; discrimination

Chapter.  19777 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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