It’s been a staple of political, economic and sociological analyses for decades that when a working woman marries and has kids, she suffers a loss of income, compared to unmarried peers. It’s the Gender Wage Gap and, while its calculation varies from year to year, there’s little doubt that it’s real, for whatever reasons.
Now along comes a new study that ought to grab the attention of multiple congressional staffers involved in all kinds of policy-making areas, including taxes, wage and benefits discrimination, and numerous others.
Why? Because the Gender Wage Gap is in some key respects becoming a thing of the past, according to “The Declining Earnings Gap Between Young Women and Men in the United States 1979-2018” by John Iceland of Penn State and Ilana Redstone of the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana. Their study was just published in the journal, Social Science Research.
As Kay Hymowitz, writing for the Institute for Family Studies, puts it:
“In the not so distant past, once a woman tied the knot, chances were that she would see her paycheck shrink in comparison to her unmarried peers; that was true even if she had no children. This is no longer the case.
“By 1989, women’s marriage disadvantage had disappeared, and now, two decades later, it has turned into the opposite (emphasis added). Twenty-something wives now earn 6% more than unmarried women.
“Two caveats: first, the marriage advantage is partly an artifact of trends in college graduation. College-educated women are now marrying at higher rates than non-college-educated women and the former tend to earn more than the latter.
“And second, depending on the model, married men get as much as a 12% boost in earnings compared to their less-educated peers, two times the advantage for women. It’s likely that the male marriage advantage is also a consequence of a selection effect.”
Much, much more in this study that should be on the priority reading list for lots of Hill staffers on both sides of the partisan aisle.