Spectra Undergraduate Research Journal


Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Political Science


December 13, 2021


February 18, 2022


February 28, 2022


Candace Wells (CW)1*

Author Affiliations

1Department of Political Science, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA.

Corresponding Author

*Candace Wells, wellsc6@unlv.nevada.edu

Author Contributions

CW: Contributed conceptualization, data collection, literature review, drafting of paper, formal analysis, methodology, and editing of manuscript.

Data Availability Statement

The author of this article confirms that all data underlying the findings are fully available without restrictions.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares that no conflicts of interest exist.

Ethical Considerations

Given that this project did not involve human or animal subjects, no IRB or IACUC approval was needed. All research was derived from publicly shared sources.


No funding was provided for this research.


This study offers an explanation to the interstate variation of the gender wage gap in the United States. Looking at political explanations as an answer for the wage gap’s persistence, I hypothesize that Democratically controlled state government positively impacts the state having pay equity policies, and that having these pay equity policies positively impacts the state’s gender wage gap. Using U.S. Census Bureau, National Conference of State Legislatures, and American Association of University Women with U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau data, I find that while there is a correlation between Democratically controlled state legislatures and pay equity policy and a correlation between Democratic majority legislatures and a narrower gender wage gap, there does not appear to be a direct association between pay equity policy and the state’s gender wage gap. The findings suggest that partisanship of the state legislature plays a key role in the wage equity policy of a state, as well as the reasoning that longstanding Democratic majorities have already passed policy to combat the apparent causes of the gap, and that more in depth policy is thus necessary to completely close it.


Gender wage gap, state partisanship, pay equity policy

Submission Type

Primary research article