The gender-wage gap is not a newly discovered phenomenon, but recently, pay inequality has been pushed into the limelight by several outspoken actresses who are dissatisfied with the blatant gender-wage gap in Hollywood. While the gender-wage gap impacts women across many industries, pay inequality in the entertainment industry stands out in that gender and age both play a part in how much actors and actresses earn. In their paper, “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars,” published in Journal of Management Inquiry, authors Irene E. De Pater of National University of Singapore, Timothy A. Judge of University of Notre Dame, and Brent A. Scott of Michigan State University compare the average earnings of top actors and actresses to better understand the gender-wage gap in Hollywood.
Research on the gender-wage gap shows equivocal evidence regarding its magnitude, which likely stems from the different wage-related variables researchers include in their calculations. To examine whether pay differentials solely based on gender exist, we focused on the earnings of top performing professionals within a specific occupation to rule out productivity-related explanations for the gender-wage gap. Specifically, we investigated the interaction of gender and age on the earnings of Hollywood top movie stars. The results reveal that the average earnings per film of female movie stars increase until the age of 34 but decrease rapidly thereafter. Male movie stars’ average earnings per film reach the maximum at age 51 and remain stable after that.
You can read “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars” from Journal of Management Inquiry by clicking here. The paper was also cited in an article on Time.com, which you can read here.