Millennials and the Gender Wage Gap in the U.S.: A Cross-Cohort Comparison of Young Workers Born in the 1960s and the 1980s
Using two cohorts of young workers born in the early 1960s and early 1980s, this paper analyzes the temporal change in the U.S. gender wage gap and its determinants, which persists for both explained and unexplained reasons. Results suggest that the gender wage gap closed four (seven) percentage points at the mean (median) between cohorts. It finds cross-cohort evidence that young females’ increasing returns to marriage and a changing occupational wage structure contributed to a narrowing of the gap. Nonetheless, the majority of this convergence remains unexplained due to relative improvements in unobservable institutional factors or heterogeneity for females. Compared to the previous generation, millennials likely entered a more progressive, female-friendly labor market. It is also possible that female millennials are more ambitious and competitive in their early years of work experience relative to females born in the 1960s.
KeywordsU.S. gender wage gap Millennials
JELJ01 J16 J31
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