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Geography And Gender: Why Does the Gender Earnings Ratio Vary Across U.S. States?


  • Saul D. Hoffman

    () (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)


The gender earnings ratio for year-round full-time workers varies substantially across U.S. states, with a range of 24 percentage points. I examine the source of this variation to assess whether it is genuine or reflects compositional differences that vary across state. Using CPS data, I estimate earnings models for men and women that incorporate state fixed effects in addition to standard human capital and demographic variables. I use those estimates to compute unadjusted and regression-adjusted estimates of the impact of state residence on the gender earnings ratio. I find that non-neutral gender-specific state effects on earnings persist even after control for other determinants of earnings and that states appear, therefore, to have a genuine effect on the gender earnings ratio. States with particularly low overall gender earnings ratios have consistently low ratios even within quite detailed education and occupation categories.

Suggested Citation

  • Saul D. Hoffman, 2013. "Geography And Gender: Why Does the Gender Earnings Ratio Vary Across U.S. States?," Working Papers 13-04, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:dlw:wpaper:13-04.

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    More about this item


    Gender Gap; Women’s Earnings; Fixed Effects;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • 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
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing


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