Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Effects of Comparable Worth Policies in State Government

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 11:15 AM
Tuttle South (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jeffrey Zax, University of Colorado - Boulder
The states of Iowa, Washington and Minnesota implemented comparable worth programs for state sector employees between 1980 and 1990. This paper estimates the effects of sex and of the sex composition of an individual’s sector-specific occupation on income in the private and state employment sectors of each state in 1980 and 1990. Difference-in-difference-in-difference estimators demonstrate that income discounts associated with female-dominated occupations in state government employment in 1980 were substantial in Iowa and Washington, but were borne principally by the relatively few men in these occupations. These discounts diminished dramatically by 1990. These discounts were much smaller for Minnesota in 1980, but nevertheless diminished significantly for women by 1990. These changes are consistent with the goals of comparable worth policies, and suggest that they might have been effective.