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Race and Gender Pay Differentials

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Lawrence M. Kahn

Abstract

In this paper we review research findings from the 1980s and early 1990s on race and gender pay gaps. In addition. we present some evidence from the Current Population Surveys (1972, 1982 and 1989) regarding the impact of shifts in the industrial composition of employment and in interindustry wage differentials on these gaps. The gender gap in pay was stable in the 1970s but fell steadily in the 1980s; the opposite patterns were observed for black-white wage differentials--a trend towards convergence in the 1970s and stability in the 1980s. Understanding these new trends comprised the unifying theme of our review. Existing studies suggest that changes in wage structure. changing relative skill levels by race and sex. and. possibly. changes in the implementation of government policies all played a role in producing the observed outcomes. although impacts were sometimes countervailing. Our own results indicate that total industry effects (representation plus coefficient effects) had little impact on the male-female pay gap during the 1970s. but accounted for a small portion of the closing of the male-female pay gap for both blacks and for whites in the 1980s. In contrast, we found no evidence that total industry effects contributed to black-white wage trends in either period.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4120.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4120.

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Date of creation: Jul 1992
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Publication status: published as "Race and Gender Pay Differentials" in Research Frontiers in Industrial Relations, edited by David Lewin, Olivia Mitchell and Peter Sherer, Madison, W I: Industrial Relations Research Association, 1992
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4120

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  1. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. C Dougherty, 2003. "Why is the Rate of Return to Schooling Higher For Women Than For Men?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0581, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Lisa Barrow, 1998. "An analysis of women's return-to-work decisions following first birth," Working Paper Series WP-98-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Paul, Maureen, 2006. "A cross-section analysis of the fairness-of-pay perception of UK employees," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 243-267, April.
  4. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1994. "The Impact of Wage Structure on Trends in U.S. Gender Wage Differentials 1975-1987," NBER Working Papers 4748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Francine D. Blau, 1996. "The Gender Pay Gap," NBER Working Papers 5664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:fth:prinin:363 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Louis N. Christofides & Robert Swidinsky, 1994. "Wage Determination by Gender and Visible Minority Status: Evidence from the 1989 LMAS," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(1), pages 34-51, March.
  8. Robert W. Rich & Donald Rissmiller, 2001. "Structural change in U.S. wage determination," Staff Reports 117, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  9. Lisa Barrow, 1999. "Child care costs and the return-to-work decisions of new mothers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 42-55.
  10. David R. Howell & Elizabeth J. Mueller, 1998. "The Effects of Immigrants on African-American Earnings: A Jobs- Level Analysis of the New York City Labor Market, 1979-89," Macroeconomics 9802002, EconWPA.

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