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The Narrowing of the U.S. Gender Earnings Gap, 1959-1999: A Cohort-Based Analysis

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  • Weinberger, Catherine

    ()
    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Kuhn, Peter J.

    ()
    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Abstract

Using Census and Current Population Survey data spanning 1959 through 1999, we assess the relative contributions of two factors to the decline in the gender wage gap: changes across cohorts in the relative slopes of men's and women's age-earnings profiles, versus changes in relative earnings levels at labor market entry. We find that changes in relative slopes account for about one-third of the narrowing of the gender wage gap over the past 40 years. Under quite general conditions, we argue that this provides an upper bound estimate of the contribution of changes in work experience and other post-school investments (PSIs) to the decline of the gender wage gap.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2007.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2010, 63 (3), 384-406
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2007

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Keywords: wages; United States; women; experience;

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References

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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
  2. Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Life-Cycle Labor-Force Participation of Married Women: Historical Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 20-47, January.
  3. Yoram Weiss, 1981. "Expected Interruptions in Labor Force Participation and Sex Related Differences in Earnings Growth," NBER Working Papers 0667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Solomon William Polachek, 1978. "Sex differences in college major," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 31(4), pages 498-508, July.
  5. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S76-S108, Part II, .
  6. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Aging in Taiwan," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 331-362 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kuhn, P., 1995. "Demographic groups and personnel policy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 101-102, March.
  8. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. O'Neill, June & Polachek, Solomon, 1993. "Why the Gender Gap in Wages Narrowed in the 1980s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 205-28, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Bjerk, David & Han, Seungjin, 2007. "Assortative marriage and the effects of government homecare subsidy programs on gender wage and participation inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1135-1150, June.
  2. Solomon W. Polachek & Jun Xiang, 2009. "The Gender Pay Gap across Countries: A Human Capital Approach," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 227, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Limor Golan & George-Levi Gayle, 2008. "Estimating a Dynamic Adverse-Selection Model: Labor-Force Experience and the Changing Gender Earnings Gap 1968-93," 2008 Meeting Papers 301, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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