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The Gender Gap in Earnings during World War II: New Evidence


  • Mark Aldrich


Contrary to the widely held belief that women's earnings rose relative to men's during World War II because of women's unprecedented movement into heavy manufacturing industries, the author of this study finds that the national all-industry earnings of women during the war fell compared to those of men. In Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York, the relative weekly and annual earnings of female manufacturing workers rose, but at a rate below that of the long-term trend. Overall, the decline in women's weekly and annual earnings compared to men's probably resulted from the relative increase in men's hours worked—a result of state protective legislation that limited women's hours of work.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Aldrich, 1989. "The Gender Gap in Earnings during World War II: New Evidence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(3), pages 415-429, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:42:y:1989:i:3:p:415-429

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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark & Wendy A. Stock, 2001. "The Effects of Race and Sex Discrimination Laws," NBER Working Papers 8215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kanika Mahajan & Bharat Ramaswami, 2017. "Caste, Female Labor Supply, and the Gender Wage Gap in India: Boserup Revisited," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(2), pages 339-378.
    3. Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Pecuniary Incentives to Work in the United States during World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 1033-1077, October.

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