A Closer Look

Gender Gap – The “unexplained” element had shrunk

Why do women make less than men? You probably know that women earn about 80 cents on the dollar compared to men (specifically, this refers to median full-time wages). You may also know that after narrowing for decades, the gender pay gap has remained essentially stuck since the 1990s.

Occupation and industry now explain gender pay gapWe now have a firmer handle on what lies behind this disparity. Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn analyzed data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to investigate the gender pay gap in 1980 and 2010. In 1980, the gap was shrouded in statistical mystery, with almost half accounted for by the “unexplained residual.” Women offered an explanation for the “unexplained”: straightforward discrimination. By 2010, however, the “unexplained” element had shrunk. Much of the gap can now be explained by observable differences between men and women—in particular, their occupation and the industries they work in.

So, why are women in lower-paying occupations?

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  Occupational hazard? The future of the gender pay gap | Brookings Institution


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