The Effect of the 1963 Equal Pay Act on the Gender Gap



Martha Bailey, Professor of Economics, UCLA

The 1963 Equal Pay Act mandated equal pay for equal work for individuals covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. We exploit variation in the "bite" of the Equal Pay Act due to the pre-existing gender gaps in pay in the same occupation, industry, and state. Consistent with the Equal Pay Act binding, women's wages increased more sharply in more affected jobs after the Act was implemented in 1964. However, women in jobs more affected by the Equal Pay Act also experienced larger employment and hours reductions in its aftermath. While increasing pay equity, the Equal Pay Act slowed the integration of women into historically male and higher-paying jobs, resulting in stagnation in the gender gap during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Event Link