Conditions of Gender Inequality: Economic and Cultural Determinants of Gender Wage Gaps Across the U.S.
Scarborough, William J.
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Each city in the U.S. has a special reputation. Detroit is the motor city, home of Motown music and Coney Dogs. Boston is known for its institutions of higher education and relics of American history. Portland is the rose city and a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. Along with these varieties, however, cities also differ in levels of gender inequality. The gender wage gap in Chicago, where women are paid 21 percent less than men, is higher than the wage gap in St. Louis (18 percent), but less than nearby South Bend (25 percent). These differences reveal other, more consequential, characteristics of cities that fundamentally shape the way opportunities are experienced differently across local residents. In this dissertation, I examine the relationship between local conditions and the gender wage gap. Leveraging the different strengths of social media data, crowd-sourced measures of implicit gender bias, and large-scale population surveys, I examine whether cities in the U.S. have different gendered cultural environments and I present a model for measuring local gender norms. Then, I examine how these cultural environments combine with local economic structures, such as the size of the technology sector, to influence gender wage gaps. My findings shed light on the interplay of economic and cultural determinants of gender inequality. While economic conditions create the structure of opportunity, cultural environments provide the logic influencing who is deemed suitable for these opportunities and how they are rewarded.
SubjectGender, Stratification, Culture, Labor Markets