Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This study examines changes in the gender wage gap and level of gender discrimination in the United States over the period1980-2010 at the national and state levels. Using data from the U.S. Current Population Survey, this study applies the Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition to separate the explained and unexplained variations in the gender pay gap. The unexplained variation proxies the level of gender discrimination faced by U.S. workers. The wage equation estimated utilizes the Heckman methodology to control for sample selection bias. Results with and without sample selectivity controls are included in this paper.

This study reports the gender pay gap in the United States fell from 0.4357 log points over the period 1980-1984 to 0.2673 log points over the period 2005-2010. The narrowing in the gender pay gap is mainly attributable to a reduction in the level of gender discrimination, which decreased by 0.1539 log points in the United States over the thirty year period. Estimations conducted at the state level show the gender pay gap also narrowed for all states over the period 1980-2010. This study finds wide variations in the gender pay gap and level of discrimination at the state level. However, the variance in the gender pay gap and level of discrimination across U.S. states decreased significantly over the thirty year period, providing evidence that convergence is underway.

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