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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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Before and After: Gender Transitions, Human Capital, and Workplace Experiences

Kristen Schilt1 / Matthew Wiswall2

1University of Chicago,

2New York University,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 8, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.1862, September 2008

Publication History

Published Online:
2008-09-11

Abstract

We use the workplace experiences of transgender people – individuals who change their gender typically with hormone therapy and surgery – to provide new insights into the long-standing question of what role gender plays in shaping workplace outcomes. Using an original survey of male-to-female and female-to-male transgender people, we document the earnings and employment experiences of transgender people before and after their gender transitions. We find that while transgender people have the same human capital after their transitions, their workplace experiences often change radically. We estimate that average earnings for female-to-male transgender workers increase slightly following their gender transitions, while average earnings for male-to-female transgender workers fall by nearly 1/3. This finding is consistent with qualitative evidence that for many male-to-female workers, becoming a woman often brings a loss of authority, harassment, and termination, but that for many female-to-male workers, becoming a man often brings an increase in respect and authority. These findings challenge the omitted variables explanations for the gender pay gap and illustrate the often hidden and subtle processes that produce gender inequality in workplace outcomes.

Keywords: gender; labor market discrimination

Citing Articles

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[1]
Anna Lisa Amodeo, Roberto Vitelli, Cristiano Scandurra, Simona Picariello, and Paolo Valerio
International Journal of Transgenderism, 2015, Volume 16, Number 1, Page 49
[2]
Louis F. Graham, Halley P Crissman, Jack Tocco, Laura A. Hughes, Rachel C. Snow, and Mark B. Padilla
International Journal of Transgenderism, 2014, Volume 15, Number 2, Page 100
[3]
Dan S. Chiaburu, Katina Sawyer, Troy A. Smith, Nicolas Brown, and T. Brad Harris
Sex Roles, 2014, Volume 70, Number 5-6, Page 183
[4]
Pollie Bith-Melander, Bhupendra Sheoran, Lina Sheth, Carlos Bermudez, Jennifer Drone, Woo Wood, and Kurt Schroeder
Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 2010, Volume 21, Number 3, Page 207
[5]
Charlie L. Law, Larry R. Martinez, Enrica N. Ruggs, Michelle R. Hebl, and Emily Akers
Journal of Vocational Behavior, 2011, Volume 79, Number 3, Page 710

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