The U.S. Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence

43 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2006

See all articles by Francine D. Blau

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

Date Written: June 2006

Abstract

Using Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data, we study the slowdown in the convergence of female and male wages in the 1990s compared to the 1980s. We find that changes in human capital did not contribute to the slowdown, since women's relative human capital improved comparably in the two decades. Occupational upgrading and deunionization had a larger positive effect on women's relative wages in the 1980s, explaining a portion of the slower 1990s convergence. However, the largest factor was that the "unexplained" gender wage gap fell much faster in the 1980s than the 1990s. Our evidence suggests that changes in labor force selectivity, changes in gender differences in unmeasured characteristics and in labor market discrimination, as well as changes in the favorableness of demand shifts each may have contributed to the slowing convergence of the unexplained gender pay gap.

Keywords: gender pay gap, wage differentials

JEL Classification: J16, J31

Suggested Citation

Blau, Francine D. and Kahn, Lawrence M., The U.S. Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence (June 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2176. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=918720

Francine D. Blau

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

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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 )

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Berlin, 10117
Germany

Lawrence M. Kahn (Contact Author)

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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