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  • Writer's picturePeter Blair

Why the U.S. Gender Wage Gap Hasn’t Narrowed in Decades

"The gender wage gap in the U.S. has remained stagnant over the past three decades. This statistic is surprising on its own, but even more so because the wage gap was narrowing in the 1980s. The reason for the stagnation remains a major puzzle in economics.

As labor economists studying inequality, we were drawn to the question of stagnant gender wage convergence.


The answer that we found surprised us—the passage of family-leave policies such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) contributed to the stagnation of gender wage convergence. Our findings, released in a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper, underscore how difficult it is to make government policy aimed at reducing gender inequality without creating unintended consequences."


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