Friday, February 12, 2021, 02:00pm - 03:30pm
Martha Bailey, University of California - Los Angeles
"How the 1963 Equal Pay Act Shaped the U.S. Gender Gap" (Martha J. Bailey, Thomas Helgerman, and Bryan A. Stuart)
Abstract: In the 1960s, two pieces of landmark legislation targeted the long-standing practice of labor-market discrimination against women. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 became the first piece of federal legislation mandating equal pay for equal work for individuals covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Although the Equal Pay Act did not prevent sex-based discrimination in hiring, firing and promotion, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act passed the following year and included a provision that did, stating “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Drawing on Card’s (1992) approach to measuring the effects of the minimum wage, this paper uses variation in pre-existing gender pay gaps across industry, occupation, and state to measure the incidence of the Equal Pay Act. Consistent with the Equal Pay Act binding, women’s wages increased more sharply in job categories with larger pre-existing pay gaps. However, women also experienced larger employment and hours reductions after the Act’s implementation, reflecting the lack of enforcement in employment discrimination outlawed under Title VII. While increasing pay equity, the Equal Pay Act slowed the integration of women into the labor-force in the 1960s and early 1970s.