American Economic Review: Vol. 104 No. 4 (April 2014)


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A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter

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Goldin, Claudia. 2014. "A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter." American Economic Review, 104(4): 1091-1119.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.4.1091


The converging roles of men and women are among the grandest advances in society and the economy in the last century. These aspects of the grand gender convergence are figurative chapters in a history of gender roles. But what must the "last" chapter contain for there to be equality in the labor market? The answer may come as a surprise. The solution does not (necessarily) have to involve government intervention and it need not make men more responsible in the home (although that wouldn't hurt). But it must involve changes in the labor market, especially how jobs are structured and remunerated to enhance temporal flexibility. The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might vanish altogether if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who labored long hours and worked particular hours. Such change has taken off in various sectors, such as technology, science, and health, but is less apparent in the corporate, financial, and legal worlds.

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Goldin, Claudia (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
J22: Time Allocation and Labor Supply
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J30: Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: General
J31: Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
J33: Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
N30: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: General, International, or Comparative

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