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Information and the Persistence of the Gender Wage Gap: Early Evidence from California's Salary History Ban

Benjamin Hansen, Drew McNichols

NBER Working Paper No. 27054
Issued in April 2020
NBER Program(s):Children, Law and Economics, Labor Studies

Aiming to reduce the gender wage gap, several states and cities have recently adopted legislation that prohibits employers from asking about previously earned salaries. The advocates of these salary history bans (SHBs) have suggested pay history perpetuates past discrimination. We study the early net impact of the first state-wide SHBs. Using both difference-in-difference and synthetic control approaches, we find the gender earnings ratio increased by 1 percent in states with SHBs. We find these population wide increases are driven by an increase of the gender earnings ratio for households with all children over 5 years old, by workers over 35, and are principally driven by those who have recently switched jobs.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27054

 
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