How the 1963 Equal Pay Act and 1964 Civil Rights Act Shaped the U.S. Gender Gap
Speaker(s)Martha J. Bailey (University of California at Los Angeles, United States)
LocationErasmus University Rotterdam, Campus Woudestein, G3-41
Date and time
September 26, 2022
11:30 - 12:30
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In the 1960s, two landmark statutes—the Equal Pay and Civil Rights Acts—targeted the long-standing practice of employment discrimination against U.S. women. In their aftermath, the gender gap in median earnings among full-time, full-year workers remained stable for 15 years, leading many scholars to conclude the legislation was ineffectual. This paper revisits this conclusion using variation in legislative incidence across states and occupation-industry-state job classifications. We find that women’s wages grew by 4-12 percent more on average in places or jobs where the legislation was more binding, with the effects concentrated among the lowest-wage employees. We find no evidence of short-term changes in employment but some suggestive evidence that firms reduced their hiring of women in the long-term. Joint paper with Thomas Helgerman and Bryan Stuart.