Benefit inequality among American workers by gender, race, and ethnicity, 1982-2015

Tali Kristal, Yinon Cohen, Edo Navot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gender, racial, and ethnic gaps in wages are well known, but group disparities in employerprovided benefits, which account for one-quarter of total compensation, are not. We use benefit costs data to study levels and trends in gender, racial, and ethnic gaps in voluntary employer-provided benefits. Analyzing Employer Costs for Employee Compensation microdata on wages and benefit costs for the years 1982 to 2015, matched to Current Population Survey files by wage decile in the industrial sector, we find that (1) benefit gaps were wider than wage gaps for minorities but were narrower for gender, (2) racial and ethnic gaps in benefits increased faster than wage gaps, and (3) the gender gap in benefits decreased faster than the wage gap. We show that these findings reflect the types of jobs women, blacks, and Hispanics have held for the past three decades.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)461-488
Number of pages28
JournalSociological Science
StatePublished - 2018


  • Employer-provided benefits
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Inequality
  • Jobs
  • Race

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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