Compensation Issues

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Banning salary history questions for job applicants benefits African Americans, women

Salary history bans limit employers' ability to ask applicants about past earnings, and effectively halt residual pay gaps from persisting, which is shown to benefit all applicants — but women and African Americans, especially. 

Researchers at Boston University found that after states implemented salary history bans, pay for job switchers increased 5 percent more on average than for comparable job changers in states not covered by such a ban. 

The gains were more pronounced for African Americans and women, who saw increases of 13 percent and 8 percent, respectively. 

Salary history bans may benefit these groups more than others because they make it harder for employers' salary offers to perpetuate any past pay inequities a worker may have experienced due to discrimination, James Bessen, the study’s lead author and an economist at Boston University School of Law, told The Wall Street Journal

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