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A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter


  • Claudia Goldin


The converging roles of men and women are among the grandest advances in society and the economy in the last century. These aspects of the grand gender convergence are figurative chapters in a history of gender roles. But what must the "last" chapter contain for there to be equality in the labor market? The answer may come as a surprise. The solution does not (necessarily) have to involve government intervention and it need not make men more responsible in the home (although that wouldn't hurt). But it must involve changes in the labor market, especially how jobs are structured and remunerated to enhance temporal flexibility. The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might vanish altogether if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who labored long hours and worked particular hours. Such change has taken off in various sectors, such as technology, science, and health, but is less apparent in the corporate, financial, and legal worlds.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Goldin, 2014. "A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(4), pages 1091-1119, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:4:p:1091-1119 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.4.1091

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Annemarie Künn-Nelen & Andries de Grip & Didier Fouarge, 2013. "Is Part-Time Employment Beneficial for Firm Productivity?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(5), pages 1172-1191, October.
    2. Jérôme Adda & Christian Dustmann & Katrien Stevens, 2017. "The Career Costs of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 293-337.
    3. Alan Manning & Farzad Saidi, 2010. "Understanding the Gender Pay Gap: What's Competition Got to Do with it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 681-698, July.
    4. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters,in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.), The Handbook of Organizational Economics Princeton University Press.
    5. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    6. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1990. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Job Ladders," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 106-123, January.
    7. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 76-108, Part II, .
    8. Dora Gicheva, 2013. "Working Long Hours and Early Career Outcomes in the High-End Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 785-824.
    9. Forrest Briscoe, 2007. "From Iron Cage to Iron Shield? How Bureaucracy Enables Temporal Flexibility for Professional Service Workers," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(2), pages 297-314, April.
    10. Goldin, Claudia D. & Katz, Lawrence F., 2011. "The Cost of Workplace Flexibility for High-Powered Professionals," Scholarly Articles 8737996, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    11. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, July.
    12. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative


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