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Trends in Earnings Differentials by Gender, 1971–1981

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Andrea H. Beller

Abstract

Using data from the Current Population Surveys, the authors examine earnings differentials by gender for 1971 and 1981. Most observers, focusing on the median annual earnings of year-round, full-time workers, have concluded that the earnings differential did not change over that decade. Using a different method to adjust for gender differences in hours and weeks worked, the authors find, on the contrary, that the female-male earnings ratio significantly increased during the 1970s. The results suggest that declining gender role specialization and declining discrimination (as conventionally measured) contributed to the observed trend. Two factors that worked in the opposite direction, though to smaller effect, were declines in women's relative returns to education and to employment in male jobs and integrated jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Francine D. Blau & Andrea H. Beller, 1988. "Trends in Earnings Differentials by Gender, 1971–1981," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(4), pages 513-529, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:41:y:1988:i:4:p:513-529
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    1. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:789-865 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:bla:gender:v:24:y:2017:i:5:p:472-486 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1997. "Swimming Upstream: Trends in the Gender Wage Differential in 1980s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 1-42, January.
    4. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2017. "The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(3), pages 789-865, September.
    5. Ahmed, Salma & McGillivray, Mark, 2015. "Human Capital, Discrimination, and the Gender Wage Gap in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 506-524.
    6. repec:eee:wdevel:v:97:y:2017:i:c:p:313-329 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. M. C. Berger & P. Groothuis & P. Jeon, 1997. "The changing gender wage gap in Korea," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(9), pages 579-582.
    8. Artz, Benjamin & Goodall, Amanda H. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2016. "Do Women Ask?," IZA Discussion Papers 10183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Garey Durden & Patricia Gaynor, 2000. "Relative changes in gender and race-based earnings costs, 1970-1995," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(6), pages 401-404.
    10. LEE, Jong-Wha & Wie, Dainn, 2017. "Wage Structure and Gender Earnings Differentials in China and India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 313-329.
    11. repec:eee:econom:v:199:y:2017:i:2:p:117-130 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Patricia E. Gaynor & Garey C. Durden, 1997. "The Cost of Being Nonwhite and the Added Cost of Being Female in The South and Southwest," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 27(2), pages 195-209, Fall.
    13. Sylvie DÉMURGER & Martin FOURNIER & Yi CHEN, 2007. "The Evolution Of Gender Earnings Gaps And Discrimination In Urban China, 1988-95," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 45(1), pages 97-121.
    14. MS Mohanty, 2001. "Determination Of Participation Decision, Hiring Decision, And Wages In A Double Selection Framework: Male-Female Wage Differentials In The U.S. Labor Market Revisited," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(2), pages 197-212, April.
    15. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3143-3259 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Macpherson, David A & Hirsch, Barry T, 1995. "Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 426-471, July.
    17. Light, Audrey & Ureta, Manuelita, 1995. "Early-Career Work Experience and Gender Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 121-154, January.

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