A Short History of the Gender Wage Gap in Britain

41 Pages Posted: 23 May 2020

See all articles by Alex Bryson

Alex Bryson

UCL ; National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

Heather Joshi

University College London

Bożena Wielgoszewska

University College London

David Wilkinson

University College London

Abstract

After shrinking dramatically during World War Two the gender wage gap (GWG) narrowed again in the early 1970s due to the Equal Pay Act. The GWG has closed across birth cohorts at all points in the adult life-cycle but remains. Within birth cohort it rises to middle age before falling again. Among those born in 1958, the raw GWG was 16 percentage points among workers aged 23, rising to 35 percentage points at 42. Among those born in 1970 the gaps were 9 and 31 percentage points at age 26 and age 42 respectively. Differences in men's and women's work experience in mid-life account for much but not all of the raw gap in both cohorts. The GWG is a little larger early in the life cycle when accounting for non-random selection into employment but selection plays no role later in life. Policy options for closing the remaining gap are considered.

Keywords: gender wage gap, labour force participation, birth cohorts, employment selection, sample attrition

JEL Classification: J16, J2, J3

Suggested Citation

Bryson, Alex and Joshi, Heather and Wielgoszewska, Bożena and Wilkinson, David, A Short History of the Gender Wage Gap in Britain. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13289, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3608538

Alex Bryson (Contact Author)

UCL ( email )

20 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=ABRYS65

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) ( email )

2 Dean Trench Street
Smith Square
London, SW1P 3HE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.niesr.ac.uk/staff/staffdetail.php?StaffID=307

Heather Joshi

University College London

Bożena Wielgoszewska

University College London

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

David Wilkinson

University College London

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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