Understanding the Gender Pay Gap in the Federal Workforce over the Past 20 Years

Benjamin Bolitzer, U.S. Government Accountability Office
Erin M. Godtland, U.S. Government Accountability Office

This paper examines the extent to which the pay gap between men and women in the federal workforce changed over the past 20 years and the factors that accounted for the gap. Using the most recent data available for a representative sample of federal employees, we employ multivariate regression and decomposition methods to analyze the contributions of specific factors--including education level, occupation, and experience--to the pay gap. We find that the raw gap—-before controlling for differences between men and women in factors that affect pay—-declined dramatically over the past 20 years. However, the unexplained pay gap remained level over this period.

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Presented in Session 168: Gender and the Labor Market