The Emergence of Wage Discrimination in U.S. Manufacturing

46 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2011

Date Written: June 1, 2011


This paper examines the hypothesis that wage discrimination emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century. I test for wage discrimination by estimating the female-male productivity ratio from samples of manufacturing firms in the northeast, and then comparing the estimated productivity ratio to the wage ratio. I find that women did not face wage discrimination in manufacturing during the nineteenth century. In 1900 there was wage discrimination against women in white-collar jobs, but not in blue-collar jobs. Wage discrimination persisted, and in 2002 the female-male wage ratio was less than the productivity ratio.

Suggested Citation

Burnette, Joyce, The Emergence of Wage Discrimination in U.S. Manufacturing (June 1, 2011). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP- 11-18, Available at SSRN: or

Joyce Burnette (Contact Author)

Wabash College - Economics ( email )

P.O.Box 352
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
765-361-6073 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics