The Stalled Gender Revolution and the Rise of Top Earnings in the United States, 1980 to 2017

Hadas Mandel, Assaf Rotman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The steep rise of top wages is acknowledged as one of the main drivers of the rise in earnings inequality between workers in most postindustrial labor markets. Yet its relation to gender stratification, in particular to the stagnation in the gender pay gap, has received very little scholarly attention. Using data from the U.S. Current Population Survey, conducted between 1980 and 2017, we provide evidence of the enormous weight that the dynamic at the top of the earnings distribution exerts on the gender pay gap. We also show how this dynamic inhibits the consequences of the countervailing process of gender vertical desegregation. Although developments in gender inequality and in the rise of top wages have drawn extensive scholarly attention and have even penetrated into the public discourse in recent years, the two dimensions of inequality are often perceived as unrelated to one another.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-158
Number of pages23
JournalSociological Science
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Earnings polarization
  • Gender segregation
  • Gender wage gap
  • Top earnings

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