The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Women’s Work and Wages

  • Francine D. Blau
  • Lawrence M. Kahn
Reference work entry


Since the early 1980s the gender wage gap has fallen in most economically advanced countries, although a gender wage differential remains in all countries. We first document for several industrialized countries recent trends in the gender gap in labour force participation and earnings. We then outline several explanations for the gender wage gap at a given point in time, changes in the gender gap over time, and differences in its extent across countries. Next, we consider the empirical evidence in support of various explanations. We conclude with some thoughts about future prospects for the gender wage gap.


Affirmative action Anti-discrimination law Black-white labour market inequality in the United States Centralized wage-setting Collective bargaining Comparable worth Compensating differentials Education Gender wage gap Human capital Labour force selectivity Labour market discrimination Labour supply Monopsony Occupational segregation Search costs Skill-biased technical change Statistical discrimination Technical change Trade unions Wage differentials Wage distribution Wage structure Women’s work and wages 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francine D. Blau
    • 1
  • Lawrence M. Kahn
    • 1
  1. 1.