Up Next

Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Feb 16, 2022

Hidden Performance: Salary History Bans and the Gender Pay Gap


As of 2019, salary history bans were enacted by 17 states and Puerto Rico with the stated purpose of reducing the gender pay gap. We argue that salary history bans may negatively affect wages as employers lose an informative signal of worker productivity. We empirically evaluate these laws using a large panel dataset of disaggregated wages covering all public-sector employees in 36 states and find, on average, that salary history bans lead to a 3% decrease in new-hire wages. We find no decrease in the gender pay gap in the full sample and a modest 1.5% increase in the relative wages of women, as compared to men, among new hires most likely to have experienced gender discrimination historically.

View Publication on Journal Site

You may also be interested in: