Salary History Bans and the Gender Wage Gap

Placeholder Show Content


Recent efforts to address the gender wage gap have led state and local legislators to enact policies limiting an employer’s access to a prospective employee’s salary history. These salary history bans are intended to remedy existing wage inequality by preventing employers from differentiating between candidates with lower historic wages and those without, thus necessitating more equitable wages for future employees. Opponents of these policies argue that they place an undue burden on employers with limited effect on the wage gap. This study investigates the efficacy of salary history bans by analyzing their impact on the wage gap for employees of the State of New Jersey and the Government of New York City. I find conflicting effects, with salary history bans exacerbating the wage gap for new hires in New Jersey but improving it in New York City. The increased wage gap in New Jersey, however, appears to be the result of an effect predating the implementation of the policy. Statewide analysis complicates the outcome, identifying a reduction in the wage gap in New Jersey’s private sector but finding no significant change in the public sector or in New York City at all. Overall, the results suggest that it is unlikely that salary history bans have any large effect on the wage gap, positive or negative.


Type of resource text
Date created May 14, 2020


Author Yu, Edward
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Department of Economics
Advisor Oyer, Paul


Subject Department of Economics
Subject salary history bans
Subject wage gap
Subject gender gap
Genre Thesis

Bibliographic information

Access conditions

Use and reproduction
User agrees that, where applicable, content will not be used to identify or to otherwise infringe the privacy or confidentiality rights of individuals. Content distributed via the Stanford Digital Repository may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

Preferred citation

Preferred Citation
Yu, Edward. (2020). Salary History Bans and the Gender Wage Gap. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


Stanford University, Department of Economics, Honors Theses

View other items in this collection in SearchWorks

Contact information

Also listed in

Loading usage metrics...