Claudia Goldin's American Economic Association Presidential Address:
A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter: Of the many advances in society and the economy in the last century the converging roles of men and women are among the grandest. A narrowing has occurred between men and women in labor force participation, paid hours of work, hours of work at home, life-time labor force experience, occupations, college majors and education, where there has been an overtaking by females.1 And there has also been convergence in earnings, on which this essay will focus. Although my evidence is for the United States, the themes developed are more broadly applicable.
These parts of the grand gender convergence occupy various metaphorical chapters in the history of gender roles in the economy and society. But what must be in the last chapter for there to be real equality?
The answer may come as a surprise. The solution does not (necessarily) have to involve government intervention. It does not have to improve women and desire to compete. And it does not necessarily have to make men more responsible in the home (although that wouldn't hurt). But it must involve alterations in the labor market, in particular changing how jobs are structured and remunerated to enhance temporal flexibility. The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might even vanish if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who worked long hours and who worked particular hours. Such change has already occurred in various sectors, but not in enough. ...