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Swimming Upstream: Trends in the Gender Wage Differential in the 1980s

JOURNAL OF LABOR ECONOMICS, Vol. 15, No. 1, Part 1, January 1997

Posted: 17 Sep 1997  

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); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; 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); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Blau, Francine D. and Kahn, Lawrence M., Swimming Upstream: Trends in the Gender Wage Differential in the 1980s. JOURNAL OF LABOR ECONOMICS, Vol. 15, No. 1, Part 1, January 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=10786

Francine D. Blau (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

265 Ives Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States
607-255-4381 (Phone)
607-255-4496 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/directory/fdb4/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Lawrence M. Kahn

Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations ( email )

265 Ives Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States
607-255-0510 (Phone)
607-255-4496 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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