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The Rising (and then Declining) Significance of Gender

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  • Claudia Goldin

Abstract

In the past two decades gender pay differences have narrowed considerably and a declining significance of gender has pervaded the labor market in numerous ways. This paper contends that in the first several decades of the twentieth century there was a rising significance of gender. The emergence of gender distinctions accompanied several important changes in the economy including the rise of white-collar work for women and increases in women's educational attainment. Firms adopted policies not to hire women in particular occupations and to exclude men from other occupations. A model of discrimination is developed in which men oppose the hiring of women into certain positions. The assumptions of the model break down when women acquire known and verifiable credentials. The shift from the rising to the declining significance of gender may have involved such a change.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Goldin, 2002. "The Rising (and then Declining) Significance of Gender," NBER Working Papers 8915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8915
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1999. "Education and Income in the Early 20th Century: Evidence from the Prairies," NBER Working Papers 7217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    3. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
    4. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    6. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 345-374, June.
    7. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
    8. Goldin, Claudia & Katz, Lawrence F., 2000. "Education and Income in the Early Twentieth Century: Evidence from the Prairies," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 782-818, September.
    9. Kenneth Arrow, 1971. "The Theory of Discrimination," Working Papers 403, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    10. Heckman, James J & Willis, Robert J, 1977. "A Beta-logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 27-58, February.
    11. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    12. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical Theories of Discrimination in Labor Markets," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Borghans, Lex & Weel, Bas ter & Weinberg, Bruce A., 2005. "People People: Social Capital and the Labor-Market - Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups," Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Lex Borghans & Bas Ter Weel & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2014. "People Skills and the Labor-Market Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 67(2), pages 287-334, April.
    3. Marigee Bacolod & V. Joseph Hotz, 2005. "Cohort Changes in the Transition from School to Work: What Changed and What Consequences Did it have for Wages?," Working Papers 050618, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    4. Tilahun Temesgen, 2006. "Decomposing Gender Wage Differentials in Urban Ethiopia: Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee (LEE) Manufacturing Survey Data," Global Economic Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 43-66.
    5. Casey Warman & Frances Woolley & Christopher Worswick, 2006. "The Evolution of Male-Female Wages Differentials in Canadian Universities: 1970-2001," Working Papers 1099, Queen's University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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