NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The US Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence

Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn

NBER Working Paper No. 10853
Issued in October 2004
NBER Program(s):   LS

We use data from the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to study the slowdown in the convergence of female and male wages in the 1990s compared to the 1980s. We found that changes in human capital did not contribute to the trends, since women improved their relative human capital to a comparable extent in the 1980s and the 1990s. Occupational upgrading of women and deunionization explained a portion of the slower 1990s convergence since the positive effect of these factors on women's relative wage gains was larger in the 1980s. However, the largest factor accounting for the slowing of wage convergence was the trend in the "unexplained gap," which was sufficient to more than fully account for the slowdown in wage convergence in the 1990s. Factors that may have contributed to the slower narrowing of the unexplained gender pay gap include changes in labor force selectivity, changes in gender differences in unmeasured characteristics and labor market discrimination, and changes in the favorableness of supply and demand shifts. We find some evidence consistent with each of these factors suggesting that each may have played a role in explaining the observed trends.

download in pdf format
   (585 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (585 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Published: Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2006. "The U.S. gender pay gap in the 1990s: slowing convergence," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, ILR School, Cornell University, vol. 60(1), pages 45-66, October.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Neal w11090 Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?
Blau and Kahn w11230 Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000
Blau and Kahn w8200 Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap
Blau and Kahn w7732 Gender Differences in Pay
Blau w5664 The Gender Pay Gap
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us