Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Pay Equity Bills in the 107th Congress: Sheep in Wolves' Clothing

Since the passage of the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act, women in the United States have made tremendous changes to their labor market behavior. What hasn't changed very much over this time period is the relative economic status of women compared to men. Another constant has been a high level of job segregation by gender, such that few organizations employ both men and women to do a particular job. These facts have led many scholars to conclude that employers systematically undervalue female-dominated jobs, and that legislative intitiatives are needed to rectify this problem. This paper reviews four bills that have been introduced in the 107th Congress. Each of these bills contains loopholes that would allow most employers to maintain their current pay rates. The Congressional initiatives are contrasted with much more stringent bill that has been passed by the New York State Assembly.