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Gendered Effects on Wages, Employment, and Prices

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (PST)

Marriott Marquis, Marina Ballroom D
Hosted By: American Economic Association & Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession
  • Chair: Jennifer Doleac, Texas A&M University

Flexible Pay, Bargaining, and the Gender Gap

Barbara Biasi
,
Yale University
Heather Sarsons
,
University of Toronto

Abstract

Existing evidence suggests that women fare worse than men in situations where they are required to bargain over a prize. Does the introduction of individual pay negotiations in industries historically characterized by rigid salaries disproportionately penalize women? We study this question by focusing on teachers in the aftermath of Wisconsin’s Act 10, a 2011 state bill which dramatically redefined the rules of collective bargaining for public sector unions. Before Act 10, teacher pay was strictly determined on the basis of seniority and academic credentials using salary schedules, negotiated between each school district and the teacher’s union.  After Act 10, unions lost the authority to bargain over the schedule and districts became free to set teachers’ pay more flexibly and on an individual basis. Using variation in the timing of the expiration of collective bargaining agreements, we estimate the effect of the introduction of flexible pay on the difference in salaries of male and female teachers with similar seniority and education. We show that the introduction of flexible pay led to a two-percent decline in women’s salaries relative to their male counterpart. This decline is larger in by schools with male principals and districts with male superintendents, and does not seem to be driven by a differential propensity for women to move across districts. 

Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operations

Valentin Bolotnyy
,
Stanford University
Natalia Emanuel
,
Harvard University

Abstract

Female workers earn $0.89 for each male-worker dollar even in a unionized workplace where tasks, wages, and promotion schedules are identical for men and women by design. We use administrative time card data on bus and train operators to show that the earnings gap can be explained by female operators taking, on average, 1.5 fewer hours of overtime and 1.3 more hours of unpaid time-off per week than male operators. Female operators, especially those who have dependents, pursue schedule conventionality, predictability, and controllability more than male operators. Analyzing two policy changes, we demonstrate that while reducing schedule controllability can reduce the earnings gap, it can also make workers—particularly female workers—worse off.

Salary Disclosure and Hiring: Field Experimental Evidence from a Two-Sided Audit Study

Laura Gee
,
Tufts University
Amanda Agan
,
Rutgers University
Bo Cowgill
,
Columbia University

Abstract

How does banning employers from seeking applicants' wage histories affect employment and salary offers? We implement a field experimental design we call a two-sided audit study, in which recruiters evaluate job applications with randomized characteristics under randomly assigned salary disclosure conditions. The experiment mimics laws passed in Massachusetts, California, New York City, and Chicago banning these questions. When disclosure is banned, recruiters in our experiment extend candidates lower overall salary offers. We find mixed results about the effect of disclosures on the gender wage gap. Disclosure increases male salaries more than female salaries, although this may only affect workers who are hired. Disclosure also improves female callback rates, without affecting men's. The overall effect of bans on the gender wage gap hinges on how we assess greater female representation.

Gender Price Gaps and Competition: Evidence from a Correspondence Study

Margarita Machelett
,
Bank of Spain

Abstract

I study the extent and structure of gender-based price discrimination in service markets by implementing a large-scale field experiment in the US auto repair industry. Women receive price quotes that are 1.9 percent (9 dollars) higher than men. These differences disappear once women signal low search costs, suggesting statistical rather than taste-based discrimination. Price requests that appear to come from high-income households raise price quotes for men but not women, also eliminating the gender gap. The price gap between genders falls with the number of nearby repair shops, suggesting that market competition alleviates discrimination.
Discussant(s)
Nicole Fortin
,
University of British Columbia
Thomas Lemieux
,
University of British Columbia
Jennifer Doleac
,
Texas A&M University
Matthew Notowidigdo
,
Northwestern University
JEL Classifications
  • J7 - Labor Discrimination
  • J1 - Demographic Economics