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Pay Secrecy and the Gender Wage Gap in the United States


  • Marlene Kim


type="main" xml:id="irel12109-abs-0001"> Legislators and advocates claim that pay secrecy perpetuates the gender wage gap and that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) should be amended to outlaw these practices. Using a difference-in-differences fixed-effects human-capital wage regression, I find that women with higher education levels who live in states that have outlawed pay secrecy have higher earnings, and that the wage gap is consequently reduced. State bans on pay secrecy and federal legislation to amend the FLSA to allow workers to share information about their wages may improve the gender wage gap, especially among women with college or graduate degrees.

Suggested Citation

  • Marlene Kim, 2015. "Pay Secrecy and the Gender Wage Gap in the United States," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 648-667, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:indres:v:54:y:2015:i:4:p:648-667

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    Cited by:

    1. Srikant Devaraj & Pankaj C. Patel, 2022. "State bans on pay secrecy and earnings: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 60(4), pages 697-734, December.
    2. Gamage, Danula K. & Kavetsos, Georgios & Mallick, Sushanta & Sevilla, Almudena, 2020. "Pay Transparency Initiative and Gender Pay Gap: Evidence from Research-Intensive Universities in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 13635, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Michael Baker & Yosh Halberstam & Kory Kroft & Alexandre Mas & Derek Messacar, 2019. "Pay Transparency and The Gender Gap," Working Papers 630, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Duchini, Emma & Simion, Stefania & Turrell, Arthur, 2020. "Pay Transparency and Cracks in the Glass Ceiling," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1311, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. Burn, Ian & Kettler, Kyle, 2019. "The more you know, the better you’re paid? Evidence from pay secrecy bans for managers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 92-109.
    6. Flynn, James, 2022. "Salary disclosure and individual effort: Evidence from the National Hockey League," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 202(C), pages 471-497.

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