Swimming Upstream: Trends in the Gender Wage Differential in the 1980s
Francine D. Blau
Cornell University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)
Lawrence M. Kahn
Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
JOURNAL OF LABOR ECONOMICS, Vol. 15, No. 1, Part 1, January 1997
Using Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics data for 1979 and 1988, we analyze how a falling gender wage gap occurred despite changes in wage structure unfavorable to low wage workers. The decrease is traced to "gender-specific" factors which more than counterbalanced changes in measured and unmeasured prices working against women. Supply shifts net of demand were unfavorable for women generally and hurt high skilled more than middle and low skilled women. By analyzing wages, we find support for the notion of a gender twist in supply and demand having its largest negative effect on high skill women.
JEL Classification: J31, J16, J71
Date posted: September 17, 1997
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