Project

How Much of Hollywood's Gender Pay Gap is Discrimination? Estimating the Role of Actor and Film Characteristics

Goal: The gender wage gap has decreased nationally over the last few decades, but the popular press has drawn attention to the film industry in particular for its lack of progress in both the social and economic treatment of women. However, the confidential nature of actors’ salaries has resulted in limited empirical research on the topic and has cast some doubt on the existence of the gender pay gap beyond a few anecdotal cases. Using hundreds of actor observations, we examine the magnitude of the gender pay gap in Hollywood while simultaneously controlling for actor quality, movie characteristics, and selection bias from nonrandom reporting of salary information. Our results suggest that the pay gap between male and female actors persists after controlling for numerous characteristics and adjusting for selection. Additionally, several salary decomposition methods consistently show that discrimination is a considerably larger fraction of the male-female salary gap than actor and movie characteristics.

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Roberto Pedace
added a research item
The gender wage gap has decreased nationally over the last few decades, but the popular press has drawn attention to the film industry in particular for its lack of progress in both the social and economic treatment of women. However, the confidential nature of actors’ salaries has resulted in limited empirical research on the topic and has cast some doubt on the existence of the gender pay gap beyond a few anecdotal cases. Using hundreds of actor observations, we examine the magnitude of the gender pay gap in Hollywood while simultaneously controlling for actor quality, movie characteristics, and selection bias from nonrandom reporting of salary information. Our results suggest that the pay gap between male and female actors persists after controlling for numerous characteristics and adjusting for selection. Additionally, several salary decomposition methods consistently show that discrimination is a considerably larger fraction of the male-female salary gap than actor and movie characteristics.
Roberto Pedace
added a project goal
The gender wage gap has decreased nationally over the last few decades, but the popular press has drawn attention to the film industry in particular for its lack of progress in both the social and economic treatment of women. However, the confidential nature of actors’ salaries has resulted in limited empirical research on the topic and has cast some doubt on the existence of the gender pay gap beyond a few anecdotal cases. Using hundreds of actor observations, we examine the magnitude of the gender pay gap in Hollywood while simultaneously controlling for actor quality, movie characteristics, and selection bias from nonrandom reporting of salary information. Our results suggest that the pay gap between male and female actors persists after controlling for numerous characteristics and adjusting for selection. Additionally, several salary decomposition methods consistently show that discrimination is a considerably larger fraction of the male-female salary gap than actor and movie characteristics.