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The Rising (and then Declining) Significance of Gender

  • Claudia Goldin

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8915.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8915.

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Date of creation: Apr 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Blau, F. D. , M. C. Brinton, and D. B. Grusky (eds.) The Declining Significance of Gender? New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8915
Note: DAE LS
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  1. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, June.
  2. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  3. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  4. 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.
  5. James J. Heckman & Robert J. Willis, 1975. "A Beta-Logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," NBER Working Papers 0112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical theories of discrimination in labor markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
  7. 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.
  8. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  9. Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2000. "Education and Income in the Early Twentieth Century: Evidence from the Prairies," Scholarly Articles 2766688, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2000. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
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