EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations

Francine Blau () and Lawrence Kahn

Journal of Economic Literature, 2017, vol. 55, issue 3, 789-865

Abstract: Using Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) microdata over the 1980-2010 period, we provide new empirical evidence on the extent of and trends in the gender wage gap, which declined considerably during this time. By 2010, conventional human capital variables taken together explained little of the gender wage gap, while gender differences in occupation and industry continued to be important. Moreover, the gender pay gap declined much more slowly at the top of the wage distribution than at the middle or bottom and by 2010 was noticeably higher at the top. We then survey the literature to identify what has been learned about the explanations for the gap. We conclude that many of the traditional explanations continue to have salience. Although human-capital factors are now relatively unimportant in the aggregate, women's work force interruptions and shorter hours remain significant in high-skilled occupations, possibly due to compensating differentials. Gender differences in occupations and industries, as well as differences in gender roles and the gender division of labor remain important, and research based on experimental evidence strongly suggests that discrimination cannot be discounted. Psychological attributes or noncognitive skills comprise one of the newer explanations for gender differences in outcomes. Our effort to assess the quantitative evidence on the importance of these factors suggests that they account for a small to moderate portion of the gender pay gap, considerably smaller than, say, occupation and industry effects, though they appear to modestly contribute to these differences.

JEL-codes: I26 J16 J24 J31 J71 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.20160995
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (74) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jel.20160995 (application/pdf)
https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5300 (application/zip)
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrie ... HQVRoL9TRSevt60zNJ2i (application/zip)

Related works:
Working Paper: The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations (2016) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:789-865

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
https://www.aeaweb.org/journals/subscriptions

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Economic Literature is currently edited by Steven Durlauf

More articles in Journal of Economic Literature from American Economic Association Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Michael P. Albert ().

 
Page updated 2019-02-06
Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:789-865