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NYC’s Salary Transparency Law: What the Research Says

Portrait of Siwei Cheng

Starting November 1, 2022, employers advertising jobs in New York City must include a good faith salary range for every job, promotion, and transfer opportunity advertised. The new law is intended to take steps towards pay equity for New Yorkers and to protect New Yorkers seeking employment from discrimination.

We spoke with Dr. Siwei Cheng, Associate Professor of Sociology in NYU’s School of Arts & Science and IHDSC faculty affiliate, about the law’s impact on labor market negotiations and improving equity in wage distributions in New York City. Dr. Cheng said, “The Salary Transparency Law is an important step towards promoting gender and racial equality in the workplace. However, it should be noted that the salary ranges reported by the employers on the job posting can still mask substantial wage inequality within this range.”

Dr. Cheng’s work looks at areas of stratification and inequality, labor market, work and occupations, and quantitative methodology. She examines the production of inequality in the modern stratification system by adopting a longitudinal perspective, one that highlights the roles of long-term life trajectories, inter- and intra-generational mobility, career processes, labor flows and boundaries, and cumulative (dis)advantages.

Dr. Cheng cites several examples from the literature of salary and benefit negotiations that, despite efforts to increase awareness and transparency, may still remain opaque and warrant attention. She says, “For example, research shows that men and women can still receive unequal wages, even if they work in the same job or occupation with a similar salary range (Cheng, Chauhan, and Chintala 2019, Smith-Doerr et al 2019). In addition, salary is only part of the total compensation workers receive from their jobs, and recent studies have documented significant inequality in non-wage benefits, such as health insurance, bonuses, and stock options (Kristal, Cohen, and Navot 2018, Tamborini and Kim 2020).”

The implementation of this law in New York City will be a gateway for further research on the law's impact and the linkage between policy and practice. Several cities and states across the country have already or will soon implement similar protections for individuals seeking employment. Researchers will play a critical role in evaluating how policies in this space can affect widespread access to economic systems and reduce inequity.


Cheng, Siwei, Bhumika Chauhan, and Swati Chintala. "The rise of programming and the stalled gender revolution." Sociological Science 6 (2019): 321-351.

Smith-Doerr, L., Alegria, S., Husbands Fealing, K., Fitzpatrick, D., & Tomaskovic-Devey, D. (2019). Gender pay gaps in US federal science agencies: An organizational approach. American Journal of Sociology125(2), 534-576.

Kristal, Tali, Yinon Cohen, and Edo Navot. "Benefit inequality among American workers by gender, race, and ethnicity, 1982–2015." Sociological Science 5 (2018): 461-488.

Tamborini, Christopher R., and Changhwan Kim. "Are you saving for retirement? Racial/ethnic differentials in contributory retirement savings plans." The Journals of Gerontology: Series B 75.4 (2020): 837-848.

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