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Race and Gender Pay Differentials

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Lawrence M. Kahn

Abstract

In this paper we review research findings from the 1980s and early 1990s on race and gender pay gaps. In addition. we present some evidence from the Current Population Surveys (1972, 1982 and 1989) regarding the impact of shifts in the industrial composition of employment and in interindustry wage differentials on these gaps. The gender gap in pay was stable in the 1970s but fell steadily in the 1980s; the opposite patterns were observed for black-white wage differentials--a trend towards convergence in the 1970s and stability in the 1980s. Understanding these new trends comprised the unifying theme of our review. Existing studies suggest that changes in wage structure. changing relative skill levels by race and sex. and. possibly. changes in the implementation of government policies all played a role in producing the observed outcomes. although impacts were sometimes countervailing. Our own results indicate that total industry effects (representation plus coefficient effects) had little impact on the male-female pay gap during the 1970s. but accounted for a small portion of the closing of the male-female pay gap for both blacks and for whites in the 1980s. In contrast, we found no evidence that total industry effects contributed to black-white wage trends in either period.

Suggested Citation

  • Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1992. "Race and Gender Pay Differentials," NBER Working Papers 4120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4120
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    1. Yoram Weiss & Reuben Gronau, 1981. "Expected Interruptions in Labour Force Participation and Sex-Related Differences in Earnings Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 607-619.
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    Cited by:

    1. Louis N. Christofides & Robert Swidinsky, 1994. "Wage Determination by Gender and Visible Minority Status: Evidence from the 1989 LMAS," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(1), pages 34-51, March.
    2. David R. Howell & Elizabeth J. Mueller, 1998. "The Effects of Immigrants on African-American Earnings: A Jobs- Level Analysis of the New York City Labor Market, 1979-89," Macroeconomics 9802002, EconWPA.
    3. Lisa Barrow, 1999. "Child care costs and the return-to-work decisions of new mothers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 42-55.
    4. Paul, Maureen, 2006. "A cross-section analysis of the fairness-of-pay perception of UK employees," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 243-267, April.
    5. Barrow, Lisa, 1999. "An Analysis of Women's Return-to-Work Decisions following First Birth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 432-451, July.
    6. C Dougherty, 2003. "Why is the Rate of Return to Schooling Higher For Women Than For Men?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0581, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1994. "The Impact of Wage Structure on Trends in U.S. Gender Wage Differentials 1975-1987," NBER Working Papers 4748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Robert W. Rich & Donald Rissmiller, 2001. "Structural change in U.S. wage determination," Staff Reports 117, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    9. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3143-3259 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Blau Francine D & Kahn Lawrence M, 2007. "The Gender Pay Gap," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 4(4), pages 1-6, June.

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