A question was posed to an economist at George Mason University by an 11th grader who was being challenged by her teacher to provide “one good reason why the law should not require that women be paid the same as men for the same work.” Here is his response:

I’m happy to oblige. There are many good reasons, but I’ll here stick to one.

That one reason is that it’s practically impossible for government officials to determine when two jobs involve “the same work.” What might look like the same work to outside observers – to government officials, lawyers, or even the workers themselves – might well be very different work.

Is the worker Mr. Smith more experienced than the worker Ms. Jones? Is Mr. Smith less likely than is Ms. Jones to take time off of work to care for children or sick parents? Is Mr. Smith less likely than is Ms. Jones to quit in order to move with a spouse to another city? Is Mr. Smith a bit more helpful than is Ms. Jones with customers? Is Mr. Smith slightly more willing than is Ms. Jones to stay on the job a few extra minutes after the workday officially ends in order to help with important unfinished business?

These questions – and many others like them – are important. Yet in the real world no outside observer is in as good a position to answer them as is each individual employer. Not that every employer always gets it right, but every employer does have strong incentives to get it right. If an employer underpays a woman, some other firm can increase its profits by hiring her away at higher pay.

Suppose that the law your teacher endorses were applied to the market for women’s dresses. Would that be good? Your teacher – to be consistent – must answer “yes.” After all, why should one dress that keeps its wearer clothed sell for a different price as another dress that does the “same work” – namely, keeps its wearer clothed?

Ask your teacher if she supports equal prices for equal-sized dresses.

If she replies that not all dresses of the same size are equal in value to one another, ask her – politely, of course – how she knows this fact to be true. Ask her why market prices for dresses should be trusted as signals of the different qualities or ‘values’ of dresses, while market wages for human labor should not be trusted as signals of the different qualities or ‘values’ of workers.

Ask your teacher also if she would trust government officials to judge whether or not, say, a size 2 knee-length dress from Liz Claiborne provides services to its buyers that are “equal” to those supplied by a size 2 knee-length dress from Versace. If, as I suspect, she feels uneasy about bureaucrats making such a determination about the relative value of dresses, ask her why she trusts bureaucrats to make the same sort of determination about the relative value of human labor.

(If she likes the idea of bureaucrats sitting in judgment on the appropriate prices of dresses, write to me again. The conversation will then have to be much different.)

Comments

  • Raúl Ramírez

    If the crickets are chirping in German over in the open thread, are they chirping in feminist over here? Funny how they all run away when you actually read the “study” they’re pushing and show the rampant confirmation bias in it.

  • anna

    [Deleted: Foul language].

  • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

    Let me see if I understand the quoted economist (who I realize cannot respond) corerctly.

    He thinks we cannot accurately measure same work and thus should not legislate same pay. Am I correct in my interpretation?

    If I am correct in my interpretation and if he is correct in his claim, can we presume then that reason men, on average, are paid more than women is for something other than better work output?

    If the quoted economist were here, I would ask him what he thinks that/those reason(s) is/are.

    • Alaina

      You are correct in your interpretation, but wrong in your conclusion.
      The stats that show women make $0.80 per dollar that men do is skewed… it takes all incomes across the board. If you looked at each level/function on an industry by industry or company by company basis, I bet the stats would look very different and they would equal out.
      What the stat misses is that women typically work in safer environments and those jobs typically pay less. For example, a women is much more likely to work as a secretary, nail tech, hair dresser, day care provider, teacher or nurse than she is as a construction worker, tow truck driver or window washer. Construction, tow truck driving and window washing jobs pay much more than say a secretary largely because of safety and working conditions. Of course women could do those job, because they do, but they are just simply jobs that women don’t want to do. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not sexist or demeaning… it’s just the way our society works today. Until women begin taking more jobs that have harsher working conditions, are less safe and or more physical, then women will make less when looking at the average income across all industries.

      • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

        I don’t know that that is entirely the case.

        Consider the following document that analyzed recent MBA graduates.

        http://www.catalyst.org/file/340/pipeline%27s_broken_promise_final_021710.pdf

        It seems to indicate that even with similar education and career choices (at least in the case of MBAs), men still fare better financially than women (albeit less than in the past).

        • Alaina

          I don’t have time to read the full report right now, but my thoughts are as follows:
          – I think the biggest disparity is, as I stated above, a result of the types of jobs women take versus men
          – Women aren’t generally as willing as men to travel and work longer hours due to a natural need to stay home and take care of the family, which results in both less pay and slower advancement. There is nothing wrong with this and men are increasing making these decisions as well. I’m not saying it’s the way it has to be, just the what typically happens in our society today… in 20 years, I think we will have a very different view of this
          – Women are less likely to negoiate their salary/wage. It’s simply not in our nature. Again, not to say we can’t and some, myself included, certainly do, but as women we have a tendency to take what is needed and not ask for more. I think this too is changing, but currently results in women making less money
          As a women that makes more than most of her male counterparts, I have a hard time seeing the disparity in pay. I used to get paid less because I wasn’t comfortable asking for more… then I did and now I make much more than most men in my field. I just don’t see it (in most situations… there are always jerks out there) as companies paying women less simply because they are women. Again, I think a lot of the things that results in women getting paid less is evolving and in 20 years from now, we’ll have a very different outlook.

          • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

            I think the paper addresses several of your thoughts. I’d be interested in seeing what you think after you have had time to read through the analysis.

            • Raúl Ramírez

              Since you haven’t responded to my analysis posted in another area of the comments, I’ll add it here as well.

              I’ve read your study and find it riddled with holes from conclusions to methodology, or, in other words, confirmation bias:

              Your organization that created this document approached their “study”
              with a pre-set bias as its stated goal is to “expand opportunities for
              women” and gives annual awards based on “women’s issues,” so before even
              reading I’m sure we can guess the results. Have you ever seen NOW
              publish something that didn’t agree with its previous stated positions?

              This “study” relied on an “online survey,” which is the worst way to
              control for external factors, including sample bias and had less than a
              50% response rate, also contributing to sample bias. Typically, people
              on the negative end of the spectrum are more likely to respond.

              This “study’s” online survey was of MBAs from Asia, Canada, Europe,
              and the United States. However there is no mention if there is
              statistical significance for the sample set from each region, especially
              considering the bias created in the regional differences between men
              and women, namely in Asia. This is rather troubling considering part of
              this study is taken from a subset of less than 9% of the original set of
              respondents (more on this later).

              This “study” claims “it’s not a matter of different aspirations.” However,
              what may be a high aspiration for me likely means something completely
              different for you (also more on this later).

              It says: “Men were twice as likely as women to be at the CEO/senior
              executive level,” yet makes no mention of changing life choices, a
              dramatic leap from first jobs to end of career jobs.

              Claim: “Regardless of differences in women’s and men’s starting
              salary, men experienced higher salary growth post-MBA.” Again, there is
              no mention of lifestyle choices. If a woman chooses to leave the
              workforce for a period of time, and a majority do, to have children,
              those years of salary growth which compound upon each other are lost
              because that employee did not develop more skills or grow in their
              abilities.

              When the “study” talks about later salary growth, it no longer claims
              to be normalized for people without children, yet still makes the claim
              that salary growth is different. Again, it ignores lifestyle choices.

              More direct quotes:

              “Men and women left [their first post-MBA job] to make a career change at equal rates.”
              “The top reason women and men left their first post-MBA job was for faster career advancement, men more so than women.”
              “More men than women said they left to earn more money or receive better benefits.”

              What this all means: Men and women choose to leave their first job at
              the same rate, so this is normalized. Yet men are leaving more often
              for career advancement meaning two things, there is not enough
              advancement available at their current employer for men and they are
              have ambition for additional career advancement. The third point once
              again points to men being more ambitious by chasing higher pay. Your
              study tried to tie this into “more women leaving because they didn’t
              like their manager.” However, what we really see here is part of where
              men are increasing their earnings at a higher rate than women as they
              are more actively pursuing career advancement and pay increases. The
              “study” provides more evidence to support these conclusions:

              “Women and men who left their first post-MBA job for career
              advancement moved further up the ladder than those who didn’t give this
              reason. Those who left for more money had greater salary growth.”

              You see, career and salary growth happened regardless of gender.
              Rather, this is where you can see actual aspirations by their actions.
              More men in this study left a job for better opportunity or more pay.
              Yet both men and women in this category saw their career trajectory and
              pay increase at a similar rate according to this study.

              More: “Thirty-seven percent of men indicated they were very satisfied
              with their overall career advancement compared to just 30 percent of
              women.” This is a completely irrelevant point added to this study to try
              to promote its cause. Job satisfaction is a matter of individual
              opinion. Reading anything else into this, especially gender bias, is
              ludicrous. You could just as easily say “women are more likely to not
              like working,” which is equally ludicrous.

              Then it begins to conclude by its study with very non-scientific
              statements using a very broad brush strokes: “CEOs and other senior
              leaders were surprised and disappointed by the findings, and agreed that
              to succeed, organizations must better develop and fully leverage the
              highly talented women in the workforce.” There is no mention of the
              sample set
              of business leaders or if there is any statistical significance to this
              statement.
              Furthermore, why are “highly talented women” so much more important to
              success than “highly talented Latios” or “highly talented children of
              “carnival workers”?

              This again shows the confirmation bias of this “study”.

              Wow. Continuing through this gets even better. Reading through the
              end note, we find that some of this data is generalized going back as
              far as 1980. We also learn that “the number of years of work experience
              pre-MBA is available only for 873 respondents” so they used age as a
              proxy for work experience because these correlate at 82 percent.
              However, that’s a correlation based on less that 9% of the original
              sample and less than
              22% of the smallest sample subset number given.

              Which brings us to the next point: “Additional respondents excluded
              from the final 4,143 sample were those who, at the time of the survey:
              worked part-time or worked in government, educational institutions,
              non-profit organizations, were self-employed or working for a family
              business, or those who did not provide sufficient work history
              information for analysis.”

              4,143 is the only number we are given, yet endnote 7 clearly states
              the sample was further reduced, with no mention given of by how much.

              Additionally, the excluded participants are more likely to be women, as
              the career choices excluded are typically more likely to be female
              choices, further biasing the results.

              I don’t know how you can take this travesty seriously.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

            There is data that shows women are less likely to negotiate that was presented to us by the employment consultant my MBA program brought in. His point was to encourage women to be more willing to negotiate because there is usually room to do so.

        • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

          I have an MBA and here is what I observed from my experience:

          -Women in our program had considerably less pre-MBA work experience (2 years less on average) than men, which directly effects post-graduate job qualification eligibility and pay.
          -Women in our program were far less likely to take consulting jobs (in fact, none did in my class or the class before me). Consultancies are the highest paying employers who recruit out of my program, and generally one of the best paying professions for MBAs in general. This was generally a lifestyle choice.
          -Most of the women in our program were from in-state, while a majority of the men were from out of state. Most of the people who had lived their entire lives within the state were not willing to leave, further limiting their employment opportunities.

          Obviously this is based on my experience within one class, but it does explain several of the issues that can effect pay.

  • Raúl Ramírez

    Once again, I’ll state this simple case that both Brian and I have made yet none of the feminists here will respond to.

    If you can really get away with paying women less for the same work, why aren’t there an abundance of companies who only hire women and are putting the companies who hire men, and by your notion have hiring operating costs, out of business?

    • Anonymous

      They won’t respond, Raul, because they cannot. They have no logical answer for such an obvious question. They lack the critical thinking skills to even ponder the question so they simply act on emotion instead of logical discourse.

    • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

      My guess is because there are far more companies who hire men than there are companies who hire exclusively women.

      • Raúl Ramírez

        Your comment is irrelevant to the issue. You’re trying to side track it.
        If women were truly paid less, capitalists whose sole goal is to make
        money were hire all women.

        • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

          Side track it how? You asked a question and I gave you a possible explanation.

          I assume by your comment that you believe no gender pay gap exists, that men and women make the same salaries?

          • Raúl Ramírez

            The original question is if companies can get away with paying women less then men for the same jobs, why don’t they hire all women? That would be the prudent thing to do. I would do it in my business.

            And there is no gender pay gap when you compare apples to apples. The best way you can do this is to look at pay before many of the common life choices are made that start to differentiate men and women such as marriage and children.

            It is difficult to remove such complex variables from the equation. However, this study attempts to do just that by comparing the salaries of single, childless men and women between the ages of 22-30 in urban areas. It finds that women far and away actually make MORE.

            http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/09/01/cities-where-women-outearn-male-counterparts/

            • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

              That’s a very good question, especially considering women are also overlooked for job opportunities.

              I don’t think the “study” you linked to actually removes complex variables. It simply compares male and females in the same age bracket, marital status, family size, and city. It does not appear that in comparing salary levels that they compared like education levels or like industries.

              On that note, you might be interested in another document. This document analyzed several studies about male and female MBA graduates and their positions and salaries, accounting for education, career aspirations, family size, years of experience, time since MBA, first post-MBA job level, and several other variables.

              http://www.catalyst.org/file/340/pipeline%27s_broken_promise_final_021710.pdf

              • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

                Unfortunately that link is a summary. I have read the entire study in the past. The point is when outside factors are removed as much a possible, we don’t see a gender pay gap or even see a reverse gap.

              • Guest

                Proof?

              • Raúl Ramírez

                Okay, I’ll bite. I’ve read your study and find it riddled with holes from conclusions to methodology, or, in other words, confirmation bias:

                Your organization that created this document approached their “study” with a pre-set bias as its stated goal is to “expand opportunities for women” and gives annual awards based on “women’s issues,” so before even reading I’m sure we can guess the results. Have you ever seen NOW publish something that didn’t agree with its previous stated positions?

                This “study” relied on an “online survey,” which is the worst way to control for external factors, including sample bias and had less than a 50% response rate, also contributing to sample bias. Typically, people on the negative end of the spectrum are more likely to respond.

                This “study’s” online survey was of MBAs from Asia, Canada, Europe, and the United States. However there is no mention if there is statistical significance for the sample set from each region, especially considering the bias created in the regional differences between men and women, namely in Asia. This is rather troubling considering part of this study is taken from a subset of less than 9% of the original set of respondents (more on this later).

                This “study” claims “it’s not a matter of different aspirations.” However,
                what may be a high aspiration for me likely means something completely
                different for you (also more on this later).

                It says: “Men were twice as likely as women to be at the CEO/senior executive level,” yet makes no mention of changing life choices, a dramatic leap from first jobs to end of career jobs.

                Claim: “Regardless of differences in women’s and men’s starting salary, men experienced higher salary growth post-MBA.” Again, there is no mention of lifestyle choices. If a woman chooses to leave the workforce for a period of time, and a majority do, to have children, those years of salary growth which compound upon each other are lost because that employee did not develop more skills or grow in their abilities.

                When the “study” talks about later salary growth, it no longer claims to be normalized for people without children, yet still makes the claim that salary growth is different. Again, it ignores lifestyle choices.

                More direct quotes:
                “Men and women left [their first post-MBA job] to make a career change at equal rates.”
                “The top reason women and men left their first post-MBA job was for faster career advancement, men more so than women.”
                “More men than women said they left to earn more money or receive better benefits.”

                What this all means: Men and women choose to leave their first job at the same rate, so this is normalized. Yet men are leaving more often for career advancement meaning two things, there is not enough advancement available at their current employer for men and they are have ambition for additional career advancement. The third point once again points to men being more ambitious by chasing higher pay. Your study tried to tie this into “more women leaving because they didn’t like their manager.” However, what we really see here is part of where men are increasing their earnings at a higher rate than women as they are more actively pursuing career advancement and pay increases. The “study” provides more evidence to support these conclusions:

                “Women and men who left their first post-MBA job for career advancement moved further up the ladder than those who didn’t give this reason. Those who left for more money had greater salary growth.”

                You see, career and salary growth happened regardless of gender. Rather, this is where you can see actual aspirations by their actions. More men in this study left a job for better opportunity or more pay. Yet both men and women in this category saw their career trajectory and pay increase at a similar rate according to this study.

                More: “Thirty-seven percent of men indicated they were very satisfied with their overall career advancement compared to just 30 percent of women.” This is a completely irrelevant point added to this study to try to promote its cause. Job satisfaction is a matter of individual opinion. Reading anything else into this, especially gender bias, is ludicrous. You could just as easily say “women are more likely to not like working,” which is equally ludicrous.

                Then it begins to conclude by its study with very non-scientific statements using a very broad brush strokes: “CEOs and other senior leaders were surprised and disappointed by the findings, and agreed that to succeed, organizations must better develop and fully leverage the highly talented women in the workforce.” There is no mention of the sample set
                of business leaders or if there is any statistical significance to this
                statement. Furthermore, why are “highly talented women” so much more important to success than “highly talented Latios” or “highly talented children of “carnival workers”?

                This again shows the confirmation bias of this “study”.

                Wow. Continuing through this gets even better. Reading through the end note, we find that some of this data is generalized going back as far as 1980. We also learn that “the number of years of work experience pre-MBA is available only for 873 respondents” so they used age as a proxy for work experience because these correlate at 82 percent. However, that’s a correlation based on less that 9% of the original sample and less than
                22% of the smallest sample subset number given.

                Which brings us to the next point: “Additional respondents excluded from the final 4,143 sample were those who, at the time of the survey: worked part-time or worked in government, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, were self-employed or working for a family business, or those who did not provide sufficient work history information for analysis.”

                4,143 is the only number we are given, yet endnote 7 clearly states the sample was further reduced, with no mention given of by how much. Additionally, the excluded participants are more likely to be women, as the career choices excluded are typically more likely to be female choices, further biasing the results.

                I don’t know how you can take this travesty seriously.

      • Alaina

        Other than maybe a nail or hair salon, what other businesses would likely hire exclusively women?

        • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

          Beats me. I was responding to the idea; I wasn’t its originator.

          • Raúl Ramírez

            Take your pick of businesses. Say a manufacturing plant, a foundry, a coal mine, or a oil rig. Why wouldn’t you hire all women and why wouldn’t you if you could pay them less?

            • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

              If I owned a business, I would not hire based on gender. I would hire exclusively based on experience and education. In fact, I have been involved in the hiring process and we hired both men and women. Likewise pay would be based exclusively on performance-based merit (not including starting salary based on education and experience).

              • Raúl Ramírez

                And that’s exactly how we do it in the real world. Yet these persistent claims of a supposed “gender gap” get feminists all riled up. Men and women simply make different life choices. None are better than others, just different. This women making 80% of the pay men get is a ridiculous use of numbers to make a point because it does not take into account any life choices nor does it take into account the fact that it is basically impossible to call two individuals equal in every imaginable way.

              • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

                Except that isn’t how it’s done in the real world. In some companies? Absolutely. In more companies than in the past? Absolutely. Across the board? No. See the link to the MBA analysis I posted in another comment for one example.

              • Raúl Ramírez

                By the time someone get an MBA, they’re often in or neither their 30s, which is past the average marriage age. So, once again, person lifestyle choices cloud your data.

              • Raúl Ramírez

                But if it were actually true that you could pay women less, then businesses would do it. Whether or not your experience shows that is different. In fact, the evidence that your company pays based on performance goes to further prove the point of the alleged “gender pay gap” being a farce.

              • http://www.hotpepper.ca Kim Siever

                Isn’t my one company too small of a sample size to prove any point further?

              • Raúl Ramírez

                Sure it’s too small of a sample and taking broad averages of pay to claim women make 70-80% less is the stupid way to measure. But there isn’t real proof that takes personal choices out of the equation to show how each individual employee’s contribution has a different value.

  • Alaina

    Wow… apparently I missed the party…
    I think most of the women here read the headline of the artcile and became completely closed minded. The college student was arguing with his teacher about why women shouldn’t be paid as much. The economist was arguing why there is no such thing as equal work and, therefore, equal pay. The economist’s point didn’t have anything to do with women being inferior to men or women being cheap, crappy dresses and men being expensive, high fashion dresses.
    He was making the point that there cannot be equal pay for equal work because there is no such thing as equal work. Just because two people have the same title and job description doesn’t mean they are doing the exact same thing on a daily basis and it certainly doesn’t mean that they have the same productivity.
    Think of someone else at your work that has the same title and same job description as you. Are you doing the exact same thing all day every day? Based on the firms and clients that I’ve worked for over the years, I would say that is very rare. You could do all the time and motion studies that your heart desires, but I think you would be hard pressed to find two positions within most firms that do exactly the same thing.
    But let’s assume that you do find two jobs that do exactly the same thing, don’t you think that one person is more productive than the other? Maybe they have more experience, they have a better work ethic, they work faster, it’s more natural for them and/or the other person has one or more personal situations that occassionally takes them away from their job.
    Point being, you can’t have equal pay because there is (in most situations) no such thing as equal work. Therefore, it would be more detrimental for the government to mandate pay than let employers figure it out. Like the economist said, employers have a big incentive to figure who is more valuable to the company and pay them appropriately, regardless of gender.

    • Raúl Ramírez

      The reason they don’t address the actual argument at hand is that the feminists know deep down inside they don’t have an actual argument, so they try to side track everything.

      Then, when they’re really losing, they break out the word “misogyny”, which is their version of “racist”.

  • Steve M.

    I think it’s obvious that there is systemic problem in America with inequality in gender income, even for the same quality and the same job — but for many of the reasons that are pointed out here, a government mandate to provide equal pay is a very inelegant solution.
    I’ll be honest and tell you I don’t have a good idea for a more elegant one, but I think if we admit that sometimes unequal pay makes sense (because of unequal quality of work in the superficially same job) but that this fact of life is sometimes (and maybe even often) used to take advantage of women we could stop arguing about analogies and sexism and start looking at the real issue — which is how do adequately protect women (and other minorities) against predatory and unfair pay structures and paychecks without destroying the “get paid for the value you provide” system that rewards hard workers, innovative people nad leaders.

    • Anonymous

      Very good reply, Steve. Much agreed. As Friedman points out, if an employer is going to pay more in wage costs to suit his bigotry it is going to cost him more money. The fact is that employers, at least ones that stay in business, try to reduce their expenditures and maximize their profits. Paying a man more simply because he is a man is bad business.

      What the angry women who proclaim themselves victims fail to do is appreciate the “choice” that women make in regards to their careers and families. I find it smart and honorable that women will seek a happy work environment simply over a more lucrative one. I find it honorable that many choose to accept motherhood as a priority and are willing to sacrifice their employment ladder for raising good citizens.

    • Raúl Ramírez

      Steve, good to have someone at least level-headed here. Though, I disagree that there are “predatory and unfair pay structures”. If someone feels their employer is treating them in this way (assuming they were somehow coerced into taking such a job), they are free to leave. There is so much opportunity in this country that the best employees are recruited and paid very well, regardless of their gender or anything else.

  • Raúl Ramírez

    Milton Friedman argued that “equal pay” laws actually cause more discrimination by eliminating the penalty on employers who choose to discriminate (hence the arguments Brian and I have made on why wouldn’t employers fire all men and hire all women if their wages were really less): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of4QMhzQeAM

  • Sartho

    Haven’t seen this many comments in a LONG time! But as a woman who works full time, is married with a hubby (I’m the bread winner) and has a background in economics to appreciate labor economics for what they are, I very much agree with our George Mason University economist. There are a few parts that weren’t worded very well, but it doesn’t change the overall point. First thing to understand is that your labor is a commodity and the wages you receive are the price of that commodity. And just like the price of so many other things we pay for, the price or wage for that labor is based on MANY variables. And while I very honestly believe that gender in and of itself is not a direct variable that determines one’s wage, there is strong evidence that certain general gender traits do play factors. While there is no way you can categorize women as all having “trait A” and all men having “trait B”, there are definitely differences between the way men and women approach many parts of their lives, and their careers are one of those parts. There is data that supports that women more often than men wait to be recognized, whereas men more often than women will point out their accomplishments themselves. Men tend to be more assertive in negotiating starting wages than women. Women tend to care more about the emotional aspects of their work (am I happy, am I making a difference in the world, do I like my boss, etc.) more than men and are more likely to sacrifice climbing the ladder if it means giving up some of those things. While not ALL women and men fit into those general trends, they are very much supported by research and data.

    It is my opinion that gender discrimination in the workplace for the most part (always exceptions to everything) is a thing of the past and the anti-discrimination laws currently in place are sufficient to help prevent slipping back down that path. Those who cling to these kinds of gender discrimination arguments are people who don’t understand the economics behind it. Like our current president. Women are NOT victims and are very much in control of their own lives, and to still complain about being held back by something that is not accurately supported by data and research is far more offensive to me than my labor being compared to a dress, which I felt was an excellent analogy.

    In my personal experience, at my last job I knew my skill set was very undervalued as I was contributing more to the company’s success than my supervisor (a fellow woman). I asked to be compensated accordingly, and when they said no (because the company underpaid anyone and everyone regardless of gender, not because I was a woman) I quit. I got a new job with a 40% pay increase. And at my new job, all the top managers are women even with it being a more technical field where you might expect more men towards the top. The biggest difference between the women at my old job and the ones at my new job are their levels of personal action. My coworkers at my last job, even some of the guys, just kind of waited around for things to happen to them, whereas the women at my new job made those things happen for themselves. The only other proactive female coworker at my last job also ended up quitting to pursue better options.

  • Anonymous

    What a load of crap. This is one of the most blatant, arrogant, ignorant pieces of sexist writing I have ever read.

    Add this to it. Women are more likely to bear the financial burden of raising their children because of deadbeat fathers who refuse to support them. That alone should justify equal pay. But really, equal pay for equal ability and the same job.

    • Raúl Ramírez

      How is this “arrogant” or “ignorant”. Employers don’t care about your financial burdens because their “fathers don’t support them” or any other reason. Employment is a contract (either verbal or written) where the employer purchases the services of the employee at an agreed upon wage. The employer purchases the employee’s service to make the employer better off, usually by making the employer more profitable (hence the ability to afford the employee). If the employer is pay the employee for any reason other than the value the employee provides, this has another name: CHARITY.

      • Anonymous

        Seriously. Charity? I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word. I said nothing about handouts.

        • Raúl Ramírez

          Charity is giving to someone something not earned. Paying someone a higher wage who provides less value (or production) at work simply because of their sex is then therefore charity because it is not money earned, it is given.

          If you want a law mandating you are paid more based on your physical characteristics or your family planning choices rather than you actual production the helps the company make money, you are in fact looking for a hand out.

          • Anonymous

            No, Charity is the pure love of Christ. It’s sad that you reduce that to something so base and distasteful.

            You are misreading what I said. Equal pay for equal work, experience and education. Not based on gender.

            It’s interesting that it’s men who are so determined to reduce women in such a way. If it wasn’t for a woman, you wouldn’t even exist, but you are still trying to turn women into lesser people by insisting they don’t deserve the same as their male counterparts in the work field. Interesting and rather sad.

            • Raúl Ramírez

              1. Define how you measure equal work. Have you ever seen 2 people produce at exactly the same rate, work exactly the same number of hours, have exactly the same degrees from exactly the same universities, had exactly the same GPAs, tooks exactly the same classes, have diplomas from exactly the same high schools, take lunch of exactly the same amount of time, have exactly the same ambitions, and have exactly the same physical fitness level, just to name a few conditions. No, of course not. People are not robots. This is not a communist society where every should have equal things, regardless of their choices. There are consequences for choices, both good and bad. It is the adversary who wants everyone to return equal, regardless of what they do. So again, define how you measure “equal work”.

              2. No one here has insisted women make less, you jumped to that conclusion. Rather, what we are talking about is pay = value provided to the company. Women often make different life choices (statically true in the US) that reduce the value what they can provide an employer or intentionally take jobs that pay less but fit more closely with their lifestyle choices. There is nothing work with those choice. In fact, they are often quite honorable. But that doesn’t mean someone, regardless of sex, should be paid as much as someone else who is more productive.

              3. No one is “reducing women”. You’re reading into things and playing the victim. Get over it.

              • Anonymous

                Ok, so if a woman does better work than another man, she should get paid more. Alright, I agree with that logic. It’s the PERSON who deserves consideration, but your remarks are still downgrading women.

                Ha, I am no victim. I am a strong woman, and you have no idea about me or my situation. I am not currently working outside of the home, but I am no retiring doormat, I will continue to advocate for women since there are men like you who exist.

              • Raúl Ramírez

                You still refuse to define how to measure equal work, because you can’t.

                What are you advocating for against “men like [you] who exist”? I want people who earn more to be paid more and people who earn less to be paid less. I don’t want a law saying people should be paid the same as someone else based on equal work, because it cannot be measured.

                You have made it clear that because women are women, they should always be paid the same (you make the exception in your less comment of or better) than men. I think the gender of a person is irrelevant, only the work performance matters.

                In other words, you are advocating for someone to get something they don’t earn because of who they are. That is a handout or charity, if you use a dictionary’s definition rather than your religious definition.

                I advocate for people to get the reward they earn, doing all that they can.

                If you’re really opposed to that, then you’re either a hypocrite or also oppose a much bigger plan based on personal agency.

              • Anonymous

                No, I haven’t made that clear. What I am making clear is that the issue should take gender out of the equation. It doesn’t have a role at all, and shouldn’t.

              • Raúl Ramírez

                On that we agree. So then why should there be a law to make pay equal for “equal work” when “equal work” is impossible to measure.

                Oh, that’s right because of “men like me”. See how your argument doesn’t make a bit of sense?

    • Anonymous

      So by your logic it is the responsibility of each employer to pay women more money to help subsidize the droves of deadbeat fathers, the same men the women made a “choice” to engage in a sexual relationship with thus resulting in her pregnancy. Got it.

      Employers bare no responsibility other than to provide a marketable product or service and to provide a wage to its workers that is agreed upon by both employer and employee. I am sure you are aware that there are current laws that protect people from being payed less due to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation. If a woman, or any employee, can prove to a jury of their peers that they were improperly and illegally denied pay due to one of the above mentioned criteria they will win a legal settlement and receive their just compensation. Protections already exist.

      What do you consider “equal pay”? It has a nice ring to it but it is a meaningless soundbite in the world of economics.

      Please watch this exchange and respond with your thoughts.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_sGn6PdmIo&feature=related

      • Anonymous

        No, it is their responsibility to pay EQUALLY and not based on gender. The same pay as a man in the same position with the same responsibilities and similar experience and education. It’s pretty self explanatory.

        • Raúl Ramírez

          Nope. There is no “responsibility” to pay “equally” because there is no such thing as equal work. People are different, they make different choices in the lifestyles, work ethic, family planning, and in many other areas. Therefore each person’s work is different.

          If women are really paid less for the exact same level of production, why don’t companies fire all the male employees and hire all female employees? The purpose of a business is to make money, so this would be prudent. But in the real world, this doesn’t happen because women aren’t paid less simply because they are women. You’re looking for a handout because you think you’re some kind of victim.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t look for handouts and I am no victim, thanks very much. Continue trying to blame me, or any other woman who doesn’t agree with you for your misogyny but it won’t work.

            Your implication is that men are entitled to more, by virtue of this post in the first place.

            • Raúl Ramírez

              I never implied nor said “men are entitled to more” nor did this post. I’ve consistently said whoever provides more value should be paid more, regardless of anything else. It’s that simple.

              It’s feminists like who want to play the victim card, claiming “oh poor me, I can’t fend for myself, make a law so people will pay more more” rather than working harder for more pay. It’s feminists like you who always pull out your version of the race card by dropping the word “misogyny”.

              I think people should be paid based on how much value they bring to their employer and that means I hate women? You’re reaching, as usual for people in your cause.

              And since you ignored it before, let’s have a little exercise.

              Define how you measure equal work. Have you ever seen 2 people produce
              at exactly the same rate, work exactly the same number of hours, have
              exactly the same degrees from exactly the same universities, had exactly
              the same GPAs, took exactly the same classes, have diplomas from
              exactly the same high schools, take lunch of exactly the same amount of
              time, have exactly the same ambitions, and have exactly the same
              physical fitness level, just to name a few conditions. No, of course
              not. People are not robots. This is not a communist society where every
              should have equal things, regardless of their choices. There are
              consequences for choices, both good and bad. It is the adversary who
              wants everyone to return equal, regardless of what they do. So again,
              define how you measure “equal work”.

  • Anonymous

    I never understood this argument for fair pay. I was a Supervisor and had close to twenty people of both sexes working under me. I know they were all paid a fair wage based upon work ethic and seniority. Equal level workers were paid the same wage. Some of the women that worked in my department did leave because of family issues or took more time off to deal with kids being sick. They got paid for the work they did and, because of the extra time off, sometimes got paid less. Choice was the only reason for this “inequity”.

  • Kaylie

    I wasn’t just promoting my website. I thought the link would be a shortcut to the studies (the shred of data you’re looking for) I mentioned rather than listing them one by one. But, since you insist, here are a few showing the benefits of flexibility and other work/life strategies:
    Business impacts of flexibility: http://www.cvworkingfamilies.org/system/files/BizImpactFlex_March11_draftB.pdf
    Flexible policies increase retention, morale, and productivity, and reduce stress and burnout: http://familiesandwork.org/3w/tips/downloads/companies.pdf
    Pay disparity cannot be explained entirely by women’s choices: http://www.shriverreport.com/awn/economy.php
    Companies that actively work to recruit and retain women show greater profitability than those that don’t: http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2009/10/pdf/awn/a_womans_nation.pdf (The Shriver Report, p. 203)

    • Anonymous

      Fine. If your argument and evidence suggests that businesses and companies can gain profitability by adjusting their operational practices, have at it. I am sure greater profitability would not be considered a bad thing by these companies,unless, of course, they are willing to sacrifice profit in order to make women angry.

      Your argument and profitability evidence has NOTHING to do with government bureaucrats attempting central plan companies in order to bring more desired equitability based on flawed assumptions.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

        That and “profit” is impossible to demonstrate as companies based on their timing choices of expenditures can easily manipulate their “profits” in the SEC financial statements. This is why in business we always look at top line revenue and other financial ratios.

    • Anonymous

      Again I ask.

      Why would employers and business owners ever hire and maintain male employees if they could immediately lower their labor costs by 30% by simply employing a female worker?

  • Anonymous

    The entire argument is absurd. It is liberal women and liberal politicians who attempt to connect scattered dots that portray women as being victims a male superiority complex that discriminates against women. The fact is that if women actually earned .70 to the $1.00 as men simply based on their sex every single intelligent businessman would immediately fire their male staffers and hire women thus reducing the costs of their wage expenditures by 30%. Mo Money! Mo Money! Mo Money!

    The reality and the statistical fact is that for whatever reasons, good or bad, women make profoundly different career choices than do men. Studies have shown that women are more likely to stay at a job that pays less if they like their job than to move to a higher paying job they will like less. Men on the other hand statically will go where the money is at. Just a market reality. Men statistically work more hours than women, just another fact.

    Women in greater numbers than men remove themselves from the workforce for years at a time to raise children. A noble and worthy act no doubt but also harmful when it comes to sustained long term wage and employment advancement. A good friend mine has a wife that is now attempting to reenter the work force after spending the last seven years raising their son. She is finding it very difficult to find employment that matches the wage she earned prior to marriage and child raising. He, on the other hand, has maintained his wage level because he has not chosen to leave the workforce. Another friend of mine has done the exact opposite. His wife has stayed in the work force and he has stayed home to raise their young baby. Likewise he is finding it difficult to renter the market at the same salary he abandoned to be Mr. Mom. Just a fact.

    Women are graduating from college at a higher rate than men yet fewer female college graduates are leaving with degrees in engineering, science, medicine, business, accounting, and many other higher paying fields of study that the male graduates. Not good or bad, just a fact.

    The only way the government could ever come close to shrinking the wage gap would be to pass laws that restrict women from making the choices they often to choose to make. Or, perhaps they would require all female college students to earn accounting degrees.

    When people blatantly ignore life’s realities and make false assumptions based on flawed stats this is the kind of argument one makes. I once heard Thomas Sewell say, I’m paraphrasing, that would be like concluding that because their are more sick people in hospitals than there are in other institutions that one must conclude that it is the hospital that makes people sick.

  • Raúl Ramírez

    Since the purpose of a business is to maximize profits, if capitalists truly can get away with paying women 20-30% less, why wouldn’t they fire all their male employees and hire all females?

  • Josh

    You’re making us dudes look bad. It’s not the 1950s, grow the f**k up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mungagungadin Marni Zollinger

    I think this article could be considered in the other direction as well. This article is poor written and contains pervasive fallacies, but the topic itself is interesting.

    I am a mother of 4 children, most of them teenagers: 3 sons and 1 daughter. The Lilly Ledbetter Act has been a topic of discussion among us. My husband felt that the data that finds that women are paid some 70 or 80 cents that men are paid, should be thrown out unless it could be found that women-owned businesses did *not* discriminate against the women. I responded that what my husband is actually saying is that since non-women-owned businesses do discriminate against women in their payroll policies which increases their revenues and makes a business more economic (and increases the opportunity for profit distributions), that my husband is really demanding that the women-owned businesses only should instigate payroll equality – same pay for same work – which will then cause the women-owned businesses only to become less competitive in the marketplace and fail. The way to payroll equality is not to reject or withhold correction of this problem until women-owned businesses solve it, because they can’t. Competition will cause them to be unable to compete and they will fail. The way to payroll equality is to create a blanket rule-change. This will be better for our whole society in many ways because it will allow families to have the breadwinner and caregivers change positions as needed, which will likely increase marital happiness and family stability.

    • David Kaiser, Editor

      Anyone see the problem here?

      • Raúl Ramírez

        Haha. Yeah. Starting with a fallacious statistic, the $0.70-$0.80 less on the dollar is an average without any consideration whatsoever of personal lifestyle choices or different type of employment choices, i.e. women rarely take dangerous jobs that pay more such as mining or on oil rigs.

        Then she denigrates women by saying a woman-owned business isn’t good enough to compete on their own without government mandates. Why Marni do you think so little of a woman’s ability to operate a business?

        • http://www.facebook.com/Mungagungadin Marni Zollinger

          Um. Let me repeat. It isn’t that women-owned businesses would fail to compete without blanket government mandates. ANY businesses would fail to be able to compete without blanket government mandates. My husband was only imagining that this was something that could be solved by a portion of the industry. In fact, the solution requires that everyone or no one does it, else those who do it are unable to survive. It’s simple math.

          If:

          Product takes 100 people to make, and 50 of those people are women paid .8 of what males are paid, then the pride of that product is 50 (.8 – female labor) plus 50 (male labor) = 90. However, if a woman-owned businesses only made the same product then the price is 100 (all labor) = 100. So, only the women-owned businesses would be unable to produce price-competitive product and that business fails in the long term because of increased Cost-of-goods-sold.

          Your other comment is non-nonsensical. If women don’t take physical jobs, then there is no payroll inequality between them.

          • Raúl Ramírez

            Regarding the “physical jobs”, then you don’t understand where this .70-.80 number comes from. It is not a one-to-one job comparison. It is average of all males salaries versus all female salaries based on IRS data. You should know where your data comes from before you repeat it.

            This will give you a one-to-one comparison and you’ll see in many comparable cases, women actually make more than men.
            blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/09/01/cities-where-women-outearn-male-counterparts/
            http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/09/the_wage_gap_myth.html

            • http://www.facebook.com/Mungagungadin Marni Zollinger

              Which is why I wasn’t mixing up to two concepts. I separated them, in fact, by paragraphs.

          • Raúl Ramírez

            And your first point doesn’t make any sense at all. If you made a product and it cost less, as you are assuming with your woman’s pay at 80%, you’d be better off. Time to brush up on those math “skills”.

            • http://www.facebook.com/Mungagungadin Marni Zollinger

              Paul, are you seriously FAILING to understand my very simple point????

              IF COGS are less when women are wage-abused (and they are) that same product can be sold on the market for less.

              The base-price on the product from the wage-abused facility was 90. Of course the facility that is abusing its women is better off, financially.

              The base-price on the product from the wage-equality facility was 100. The facility that is not abusing its women is *not* better off, financially.

              That is a very meaningful 10 percent advantage that means the life or death of companies. This is a case when doing right doesn’t have its own reward; it results in venture-death.

              This means that all products from female-wage-abused facilities are more competitive in the market place, as their base-price begins lower…. unless we instigate federal wage-equality, which we have. And that is why it is important to have laws for equality – it often isn’t possible for just a few companies to do right in the world as those that would naturally do right put themselves at a market disadvantage and risk closure of the whole venture.

              • Raúl Ramírez

                1. My name is Raúl and you really are clueless, which I’ll demonstrate in the following points:
                2. Wage abuse? Really? Are women forced to take these jobs? No. Stupid argument.
                3. Your scenario was this is a woman-owned company, so you’re saying women are voluntarily paying women less. That’s just a hilarious oxymoron.
                4. If COGS are 10% less and this is reflected in your widgets purchase price, assuming your widget is equally good to anything else on the market, you will put everyone else out of business, guaranteeing the future of your female employees, increasing demand so more female employees will be hired (though why you think a female owned business only hires females rather than the best possible candidates is a complete other discrimination issue) while the male employees are out of work.
                5. If the males employees in your scenario want to continue to work in this industry where the female-owned and operated business has put them out of business, they will accepts the new, 20% wage equilibrium because it has become the new market rate.
                6. Points 4 and 5 shows how little you understand about markets and business, which I had assumed from your poorly worded grammatically flawed original post but decided to give you the benefit of the doubt thinking that couldn’t really be what you meant. Unfortunately, it was what you meant.

              • http://www.facebook.com/Mungagungadin Marni Zollinger

                Discussing

                1. Very sorry about the name, I think I just read it fast.

                2. “Wage abuse” seems like a good term. Yes, women are forced to take these jobs as there is high unemployment and women, more often than men, have dependents that call on her for food and shelter.

                3. No, in my husband’s scenario of a woman-owned company, he felt that the women should voluntarily and alone-in-the-industry pay women equally with men. My husband felt that the women-owned businesses alone should be doing right, and leave the lesser-moralled businesses to continue to wage-abuse the women. He thought that this preserved freedom while solving the problem of wage-slaving of women. I pointed out to him that in that scenario the final result is that the women-owned businesses alone are priced out of the market unless the a law for wage equality was instituted.

                4. Again, yes, women-owned businesses are forced (unless there is a law supporting wage equality, and fortunately now there is) to make a less competitively priced product *because* of their wage equality. This means that it is the institution of the law that will bring the market-forces back into balance. To continue the example, when employers have to pay women the same as men, then all the widgets will be 100, so that women-owned businesses that wanted to treat women fairly will no longer experience a market-disadvantage. No one will be able to get away with wage-abusing the women anymore, so no one will be making those wages at 90 anymore. The market will go back to comparing the value of that widget on other factors than price.

                5. I’m afraid I don’t understand your meaning.

                6. I have 15 years experience running a business personally, and have written the agreements for municipal developments and wholesale price agreements in energy. I think I’m just barely able to keep up with you.

              • Raúl Ramírez

                You’re so clueless. Why wouldn’t your made up company who only hires women pay less, sell widgets for less, and take all the market share away? No one in their right might wouldn’t reduce their COGS if they could so easily.

                If this were the case, the companies hiring the supposedly more highly paid males would lose sales and eventually close.

                Then, if the men who no longer have a job and are only able to make widgets will have to work at this lower pay rate the women are making, otherwise, no one would hire them and they would continue to hire women.

                Hence, the market causes pay to be equal.

                That is how the real work works. Well, all except of this alleged artificially low pay the women are getting from your scenario.

      • ifrit

        You’re arrogant. That makes it difficult to respect what you have to say. That’s a pretty big problem.

        • David Kaiser, Editor

          Oh and you’ve been a ray of sunshine since you started posting. That’s the bass calling the trout slippery if I’ve ever seen it.

  • Kaylie

    A few more points:
    -Time spent on the job does not equate with productivity. Work can be done at home (there are plenty of studies to show that workers are usually MORE productive when they have flexible schedules and telecommute), and plenty of workers who show face at the office and then spend most of their days on Facebook. So if a woman leaves “early” it doesn’t follow that she’s doing less work. Maybe she’s just more productive.
    -Caregiving can enhance work skills. If you don’t believe me, read Ann Crittenden’s book, If You’ve Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything.
    -You’ve raised a problem common in the business world (and in the legal system)–people who view family work as less valuable than career work. Women (and men) who choose to spend time raising families, caring for elderly relatives, etc., are told they’re doing the most important work in the world, yet they’re consistently penalized for it.
    -If you pay men and women equally, and include family-friendly strategies in your business plan with such policies as flexible scheduling, sick leave, and parental leave, you, like other employers who have done the same, would find your bottom line increases. You’d save way more money by reducing turnover and absenteeism and increasing engagement and productivity than you would spend on such programs. Again, there are plenty of studies to back me up on this. Here’s one link to start: http://www.familyfriendlywork.org/flexibility.html. Being generous to your employees pays off much more than being miserly.

    • Raúl Ramírez

      This is a whole lot of opinion without a shred of data. We get it, you run a website.

      The issue is value to the employer not “family friendly work”. There is a lot of work that is family friendly, which is why is doesn’t pay particularly well, such as teaching. There is also a lot of work whose nature isn’t family friendly at all, so it pays more like consulting or working on an oil rig for three weeks at a time. Different types of work have different values and people make different employment choices.

    • Alaina

      - Time spent at home with a kid, muchless a sick one, certainly doesn’t allow for anywhere near the same productivity as if you were in the office. Have you ever done that? It’s tough to get anything done and my female colleagues agree… in fact, I had this discussion with another women at work 2 weeks ago because she was trying to work remotely while her kid was sick and she had a tough time getting anything done. If anyone leaves work early, they are by definition being less productive because that’s X number of hours that they didn’t work.
      – No one is saying that caregiving doesn’t enhance workskills… just that it can take away from productivity
      – I don’t know anyone that views family work as less valuable than career work. The problem is that companies are required to make money to operate and make sure everyone gets paid and keeps their job. If someone is out of the office a lot (for whatever reason), it’s a loss of productivity and not just for that person, but possibly for people who are dependent on that person to produce, make decisions, etc. Therefore, it’s a loss to the company… not a reflection of someone’s personal value of family life.
      – I, for the most part, agree with your last statement. Many companies do try to make accomodations for their employees personal lives to keep them happy, but it can only go so far before it’s more costly than helpful.

  • KK

    This
    is a circular argument. Women
    are more likely to leave work “early” or move with their husbands for
    his job transfer precisely because they are paid less and therefore it
    makes more sense for a woman to give up her income than for a man to
    do so.

    • ifrit

      Who told you women were more likely to leave work early? That’s a very odd assumption to make. I’ve done a lot of working, and never noticed that the women tended to leave work early any more than the men. As for being more likely to move with their husband, if that is true, how on earth does it effect their performance *now*? At this moment, the fact that a woman may move two years down the road has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the quality of her work, which she is getting paid for. By this logic, men should also get paid less because they might change jobs and move sometime in the future. This makes no sense at all.

      • Alaina

        It may not cost companies anything now, but it is very expensive to replace an employee and, as an employer, if you think that an potential employee is going to come into the job with an expiration date (for any reason), why would you hire over someone who isn’t going to come into the job with an expiration date, muchless give them a greater compensation for their work?

        • Anonymous

          Does anyone understand how much it costs an employer to hire someone? If you have to keep replacing people it becomes very prohibitive to the employer, to the point of reducing the compendium in order to save costs.

  • Heather

    It doesn’t matter what product you choose, this is basically comparing women to an inferior product. Sounds pretty harsh when you put it that way, right? But, that’s exactly the message that metaphor sends.

    There are no arguments here, there are only stereotypes: 1) Only women care for their children and the elderly (and doing so makes them a less valuable employee) 2) Only men relocate for a new job opportunity 3) Men are more helpful to customers than women (but for some reason less helpful when it comes to childcare) 4) Men are more willing to put in extra time at work and women are not (and time on the job matters more than work accomplished)

    If women weren’t statistically paid significantly less than men for the same job, I wouldn’t generalize your assumptions. But now that I have…they seem pretty sexist I hope.

    • Raúl Ramírez

      Scott provided had some actual data you can review to back up some of Dr. Boudreaux’s comments. This point of this data is it measure pay rates before many of the common different lifestyle choices between men and women affect pay over time.

      “Young, childless, single urban women earn 8 percent more than their male
      counterparts. Women who have never had a child earn 113 percent of what
      men earn. Unmarried college-educated males between the ages of 40 and
      64 earn nearly 15 percent less than their female counterparts.”

      http://blogs.wsj.com/economics

      http://www.americanthinker.com

      • Heather

        Actually, I have heard similar stats. What they all have in common is that women are more successful when their employers believe that marriage or children will not affect their job performance. However, it is discrimination that marriage and family should affect the income women receive, especially since it is obviously declining from what it was before marriage and family. Also, men who are married with children are not discriminated against. Men’s pay statistically increases over the years. Surely men’s obligations to family increases as well. Why should we assume that this will negatively impact a woman’s work, and not a man’s?

        • Heather

          Also, it was common in the past for married men with families to earn more than single men for the same job. This was considered fair because the men with families were expected to provide more. That was discrimination too.

          • Raúl Ramírez

            What is “fair” is for someone to be paid based upon the value they bring to a company, regardless of sex, age, race. The point is, women typically make lifestyle choices that reduce the amount of work they do over their lifetime, reducing total earnings.

            • Ashley

              But why punish all women for the [valid] choices of some?

              • Raúl Ramírez

                There is no punishment, it’s reality and no one is questioning the validity of the choices.

                Choices create differentiation. People who provide more value are paid more, period. But all these liberal organizations that complain about women making so much less are using a broad average that don’t take into account lifestyle choices and different work-type choices. Overall women make different choices than men, which is perfect valid and respected by most everyone, but the choices made may create a reduced work output, so the value of the labor is lower.

                I know you can’t handle analogies, but do you really want to pay more for something this is not as good as something else? There is another word for doing so. It is called charity.

        • Raúl Ramírez

          Income has nothing to do with whether someone has a family or not. It has to do with the value provided to the employer.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Mungagungadin Marni Zollinger

            I think you are making a valid case for county-run parent-support. If an employer sees a single parent as being a less-stable employee and thus wants to pay that employee less just on that prejudice (which could be true in part because single parents do have to play all roles including sick-nurse which cannot be predicted). Another option is something like what France has- guaranteed financial support from all when a child gets sick requiring a parent to stay home. That way, the burden doesn’t fall on any particular employer and our nation’s children are well-cared for whether in one or two parent homes.

            • Raúl Ramírez

              Why should anyone support your kids when you chose to have them?

              • http://www.facebook.com/Mungagungadin Marni Zollinger

                Raul, all children are the product of more than one person’s decisions. Once here, we all bear the weight of each child because we are a civilized society, a Christian society, and above all, a smart society. Each educated person and worker is an asset, quite literally, and the more educated and “working” the more they each pay in for our marvelous society.

                I do not want to move to France, I want to copy those ideas that work very well elsewhere and use them here. That is the mark of a society that is prepared to see any good in the world and embrace it.

              • Raúl Ramírez

                You said:

                All children are the product of more than one person’s decisions

                Really? Someone can force you to have children?

                we all bear the weight of each child because we are a civilized society

                So you think you should CHOOSE to bring children into the world then everyone else has to pay for them? What other decisions that you make do you want everyone else to pay for? This is called Socialism.

                I do not want to move to France, I want to copy those ideas that work very well elsewhere and use them here

                France just elected a Socialist for President, because those are their values.

                That is the mark of a society that is prepared to see any good in the world and embrace it.

                Your good, namely: taking no responsibility for your personal choices and everyone else being required to pay for them, is not necessarily my good, so don’t try to impose it on me. There is a reason the US has had more economic growth than any other country over the last 100 years, why the wealth created here has causes American’s charitable giving to be as much as the GDP of 10th largest economy in the world, and that reason is free market capitalism.

                It’s a simple formula. Be a better employee and you’ll earn more. I don’t care about people’s race, gender, who they have sex with, or anything else. I pay the best employees the most because of the value they bring me (and because I don’t want to lose them) and so does everyone else.

            • Alaina

              The employer may not have to pay for it, but the tax payers sure do. Do you really want to pay for my kid’s daycare/healthcare when you have your own to pay for?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Mungagungadin Marni Zollinger

      No, I did not say that at all. I am frustrated that both men and women are misunderstanding my meaning.

      I said that women and men produce the same product, but that businesses that attempt to instigate payroll equality on their own without a legal requirement (and I dislike that someone called it a mandate– do we call our other laws that treat people fairly “mandates”???) are putting themselves out of business. This is why payroll equality needs to happen at a federal level.

      Fortunately, it did. The world is becoming a better place for men, women and families.

  • ifrit

    So according to your argument, if my spouse and I have the exact same job, I should get paid less for doing the exact same work NOW, because we might move to a different city for a new job for him later? That makes zero sense. And why on earth would Mr. Smith have any more chance than Ms. Jones of being more helpful with customers or being more experienced? Of course more helpful and more experienced workers will be paid more than those who are less. But the idea that that can somehow be determined along gender lines is ridiculous, as is your argument that women will be more likely to take time off to take care of sick family members. Using these arguments just shows that you don’t know how most families actually work now. This might have worked better in the 50’s, when women were barred culturally from working many jobs and were therefore unable to gain more experience than a man, making them by default the ones who cared for sick family members. But thankfully, most of us have moved past that, and I suggest you do the same.

    I find it funny that you chose dresses to make your poor analogy, as if you think that is somehow something that a female teacher will understand better than economics or gender differences.

    • Raúl Ramírez

      And no one responded to this because you completely missed the point. So again, try real issues.

  • Raúl Ramírez

    It’s quite funny that all the comments here are nothing short of whining, complaining, and taking things like the dress analogy completely out of context (substitute any product that is significantly differentiated in the marketplace that you like).

    None of you, well probably the one of you who is continually posting under different names, want to refute Dr. Boudreaux’s arguments. This is the typical liberal response. If you don’t have a good argument, divert the point and call names.

    • ifrit

      Actually, I know all the people who have posted here. They are all definitely separate people, and since you can only accuse us of whining and cheating, I’ll assume you can’t come up with a logical argument to refute anything we’ve said.

      • Raúl Ramírez

        Ah. An organized campaign. You apparently needed backup to complain rather than talk about the real issues of performance and lifestyle choices.

        • ifrit

          I’ve brought up lots of real issues. The only response I’ve gotten is that we’re whining, or that we can’t get mad at the author of the article for quoting something he didn’t write. So I’m still assuming no one can come up with a logical response to the points I’ve brought up.

          • Raúl Ramírez

            Odd, since none of your “real issues” seem to be in the comments. You did try to change my analogy, but you were wrong because it changed the point. Other than that, from you especially, it has been all complaining all the time.

          • David Kaiser, Editor

            I didn’t say you couldn’t get mad, just address the anger at the proper target.

            If a book says something you don’t like, are you going to burn it?

      • David Kaiser, Editor

        Logical? Logic went out the window when half the posters attacked Scott for an argument her didn’t even write.

        • Ashley

          I know he didn’t write it. I never said he did. But he is perpetuating it.

          • David Kaiser, Editor

            You may not have, but several others did. If you don’t like the topic, either ignore it or, heaven forbid, make a rational, fact-based argument against it rather than spew off about something being “asinine” or “not worth reading.”

          • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

            We often post things written by others to foster discussion and Don Boudreaux is a well respected economist.

        • ifrit

          I know he didn’t write it. By sharing it and agreeing with it, he is making it his argument. Unless he points out all the places he disagrees, we can fairly assume that he is making the same argument. Also, speaking of logic, it is a logical fallacy for you to say that you don’t have to make a logical argument because of something illogical your opponent said. Double fallacy points because the illogical thing they supposedly said had nothing to do with the point they were making in the first place.

          • Raúl Ramírez

            Points for throwing lots of words together again! Woohoo!

          • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

            Perhaps you should read my previous comment: “We often post things written by others to foster discussion and Don Boudreaux is a well respected economist.” I also often post campaign ads from Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and Super PAC. It doesn’t mean I agree with any of them either unless I actually write that I do. In this case, there is data supporting Boudreau’s case, which I have added in the comments.

          • David Kaiser, Editor

            It’s not “fair,” because it’s not what we do, all of us on here post things we agree or disagree with on here in an attempt to encourage reasonable discussion. I’ve seen some of the posters call things “asinine,” a poster said Scott was “degrading both sexes,” and you directly called someone “arrogant.”

            Where’s your logic there?

          • David Kaiser, Editor

            So if a library has Mein Kampf on its shelves, it’s making the argument for National Socialism? Just trying to see how far the blanket statement you just made goes.

  • rah

    How about randomized double-blind experimental trials where profiles and resumes which are exactly the same except they randomly switch the gender of the name show that both men and women rate the exact same resume as showing less competence and worth less pay when the name assigned is that of a women instead of a man. And these are actual R1 research scientists.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2012/09/19/scientists-your-gender-bias-is-showing/

    Your argument seems to be that it is just too hard to tell when people’s performance and jobs are similar or different for legal recourse, but at the same time you assume that the managers involved can easily tell performance and ability differences correctly. The law has a long standing case tradition that does a reasonable job of apportioning burden of proof and motive. The system isn’t perfect but it does catch egregious cases and the threat of lawsuits and reputation hits has been shown to motivate organizations to do due diligence in their processes. As someone that used to do this analysis for a Fortune 100 company I can tell you your reasoning is way off and this is a very poor answer logically, pragmatically and ignorant of basic scientific evidence.

    Have a nice day.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

      Here is some data taking out most of the lifestyle choices:

      Young, childless, single urban women earn 8 percent more than their male counterparts. Women who have never had a child earn 113 percent of what men earn. Unmarried college-educated males between the ages of 40 and 64 earn nearly 15 percent less than their female counterparts.

      http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/09/01/cities-where-women-outearn-male-counterparts/
      http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/09/the_wage_gap_myth.html

      • rah

        Scott,

        Arguing that there are systematic differences in career trajectories that can legitimately account for pay differences is completely different from arguing that there is no good reason not to have a law that says similarly situated, competent and performing employees should not be discriminated against because of their gender are two very different things. Your argument here here though you don’t really make it is that you think the market solves pay gap disparities to the point that any “market derived” pay outcome must be fair. Any discrepancy we can’t explain is due simply to omitted information in the estimating equation such as family situation etc. This is exactly why randomized, double blind experiments are important to include in the consideration of such arguments. You have to tell me what you think the mechanism is that accounts for people assigning lower competence scores and salaries when gender in randomly assigned to the same profiles. The point is that irrational, gender bias exists in the market place. This makes having a general law which prohibits discrimination on gender at least at face value not appear crazy. Now you can argue that the enforcement of such a law is too costly for the value it provides or some such. But that is not an argument you or the George Mason professor is making.

        • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

          I haven’t made an argument at all.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

            That said, that the academic scientists in the article you linked to have gender bias does in no way correlate to pay. You’re making a giant leap that just because it may exist in one place, it must exist in another, completely unrelated place.

        • Raúl Ramírez

          Why do you even need a law? What is wrong with a free market determining wages where employers will freely offer what they wish and employees will freely accept or decline. If you really think a business wouldn’t pay more to a female employee who provides more value than a male employee because she is in fact female, you haven’t owned a business and you haven’t spent much time in the real world.

    • David Kaiser, Editor

      Gee, it is amazing that an analyst for Fortune 100 companies didn’t read enough of the article to realize that SCOTT DIDN’T WRITE IT.

      I think you did analysis on their annual toilet paper consumption rates.

      It is sad to see the disease that afflicts our children today – not reading completely and thoroughly – is spreading to adults.

      • Ifrit

        You can’t offer a logical response to her actual argument, so you’re instead insulting her because she didn’t pick up who the author of the article was. That’s pretty weak.

        • Raúl Ramírez

          You mean like the “logical response” comment two comments up that you’re conveniently ignoring?

          “Here is some data taking out most of the lifestyle choices:

          Young, childless, single urban women earn 8 percent more than their
          male counterparts. Women who have never had a child earn 113 percent of
          what men earn. Unmarried college-educated males between the ages of 40
          and 64 earn nearly 15 percent less than their female counterparts.”

          http://blogs.wsj.com/economics
          http://www.americanthinker.com

        • David Kaiser, Editor

          Please show me how on this planet what she wrote was “responding the George Mason economist clearly.”

          She makes absolutely no mention of said economist and used the term “your” which most normal people associate with responding to the person that previous spoke. Since said economist was not on here to my knowledge, the only “your” I can see is Scott.

          Admit that, and I’ll gladly walk away. Until then, take your holier than thou somewhere else.

      • rah

        I was responding the George Mason economist clearly. I also know enough to know what it means, ideologically to be a George Mason economist – its a bastion of libertarian economic thought.

        • David Kaiser, Editor

          There was absolutely no clear indication who you were referring to in your post, please point out where you indicated that the use of “your” in the post means “George Mason economist.” Last I checked, he wasn’t reading or responding to this post.

        • Raúl Ramírez

          Libertarians? Oh no! They believe in more freedom. We must run away immediately!

  • Ashley

    First of all, your title alone should be enough to convince anybody that this is an asinine post not worth reading.

    Second, why does it sound like all the questions about “Mr. Smith” and “Ms. Jones” should be answered in the affirmative? Why WOULDN’T Ms. Jones be the better worker? Gender has absolutely nothing to do with it. A woman might not be a wife and/or a mother; even if she is, what gives anybody the right to assume this makes her an inferior worker? Conversely, a working man may also do much at home, i.e. childcare, yet this quote does not question HIS work ethic.

    Third, the analogy of women to dresses is absurd and degrading, and it is time that people stop comparing women to inanimate objects, especially when the comparison makes no sense whatsoever.

    • Raúl Ramírez

      No is saying one person or the other is the inferior worker. The point is, it differs by person and you can’t assume one work is equal to another.

      As for the dresses, pick any product that is significantly differentiated in the marketplace that you like and the argument holds the same. You’re reaching.

      • ifrit

        So then why make a generalized statement that men should be paid more than women, if it varies from person to person? Pay according to the hiring requirements, and let things sort themselves out rom there.

        • Raúl Ramírez

          Who made that argument?

          • stephanie

            @antijasonwright:disqus –did you read the article?

            • Raúl Ramírez

              Wrong again. Dr. Boudreaux’s argument is that pay amounts should not be legally mandated. No one is saying “men should be paid more than women”. Rather, the argument is why pay differentiation actually does occur within a free market. So yes, I read the article and understood it.

          • ifrit

            The title of the article.

            • Raúl Ramírez

              Perhaps you should re-read the title as it refers to “the law”. Making a “law” with pay mandates based upon job title is as you put it above “a generalized statement”, which assumes all people are of equal ability, work equally hard, and provide equal value in their work. This simply isn’t true. It wouldn’t be true if you made a law saying all Hispanics Americans and Asian Americans should be paid the same and it isn’t true in in a law saying men and women should be paid the same.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

      You said:

      “First of all, your title alone should be enough to convince anybody that this is an asinine post not worth reading.”

      Then why did you read it? Clearly it did exactly as was intended as the discussion here has been significant and fairly wide-ranging.

  • Stephanie

    Its not even 9am on the west coast, and I believe I have read the most sexist thing of the day! Why wouldn’t a father stay home with his child if they were sick? Why wouldn’t a Son go and take care of his parents..
    You are putting men and women into boxes they don’t belong in. You are degrading both sexes.

    • Raúl Ramírez

      No one says it must be this way. However, data shows women are more likely to stay home with sick kids.

  • Ashley

    First of all, your title alone should be enough to convince anybody that this is an asinine post not worth reading.

    Second, why does it sound like all the questions about “Mr. Smith” and “Ms. Jones” should be answered in the affirmative? Why WOULDN’T Ms. Jones be the better worker? Gender has absolutely nothing to do with it. A woman may not be a wife and/or a mother; even if she is, what gives anybody the right to assume this makes her an inferior worker? Conversely, a working man may also do much at home, i.e. childcare, yet this quote does not question HIS work ethic.

    Third, the analogy of women to dresses is absurd and degrading, and it is time that women stop being compared to inanimate objects, especially when the comparison makes no sense whatsoever.

  • Lindsay

    Am I to understand that this argument implies that women are naturally less hard workers than men? Because I’m reading this to say that women are somehow less valuable and so they shouldn’t automatically be paid the same, but men- regardless of their skill set and ambition are still able to benefit from equal pay because of their gender. This whole argument is ridiculously flawed and absurd and makes automatic assumptions about women that aren’t consistent or verifiable. And the dress comparison is irrelevant and silly. Human beings work cannot be compared to amounts of fabric and men are not naturally and automatically “extra large” in the work force. I’m still looking for one good reason. If this economist has “many reasons,” he certainly chose the weakest in his arsenal.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

      If that’s what you got out of if you didn’t read it. Switch the roles of men and women, and the point is the same. But in our society, women are more likely (though obviously not always) to stay home with sick kids and move when then spouse finds a job. When the opposite is the case, the man would likely make less. Raul makes the right point in a couple of his comments about the dress. Pick any product and the analogy is unchanged.

      http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/09/the_wage_gap_myth.html

      • Ashley

        #1: I am NOT to be compared with a “product”, thank you.
        #2: So what are the roles of men and women? Are you going to demean both sexes by pigeonholing us into certain roles? This is the 21st century.

        • Raúl Ramírez

          #1 Since you want to play dumb and not follow the analogy I’ll give you another one: I want to hire a supermodel (see, by your failed logic I’m comparing you to a supermodel!). I’m not going to pay the same amount for a clumsy model who can’t make it down the runway one time without falling on her face. I will pay more for a fantastic high quality model that can effortlessly glide down the runway. The government should not mandate that I pay the clumsy model the same as the fantastic model.

          #2 I don’t see where Scott defined any roles he said “women are more likely” and provided a link to the data that shows as much. Some women make the choice to make their career more important and not have children. Others make a decision with their spouse that he stay home with the kids. No one is saying any of these choices are good or bad. The point I believe the economist was making is that data shows women make choices that remove them from the workforce more often than men, which there is nothing wrong with. This also means that women over time will earn less as they will miss out on compounding raises year over year and not gain the experience as quickly to be promoted as quickly.

          • Ashley

            Please try to understand why using analogies is frustrating. Now it sounds like you’re likening women to the “clumsy model” and men to the “fantastic model”. Give this issue some credit and examine it as is, instead of bringing in outside comparisons that will never quite do the issue justice.

            Also, correlation is different than causation. Women *may* be more likely to stay home with sick kids, but it’s because they have children, not because they are women. Delineating based on gender alone is over-simplistic.

            • Ashley

              Sorry, rather, *some* women have children. Please remember not every woman has kids!

            • Raúl Ramírez

              Haha. I didn’t represent a woman or a man as one or the other. YOU jumped to the conclusion that a woman must be the clumsy one and a man the fantastic one. When in reality, gender was irrelevant. Value was.

              Women aren’t the only ones who have children. Married people choose how they will share responsibility. There are also single dads. Either way, you CHOOSE to have children and you CHOOSE who will work less at times to attend to their needs. CHOOSING to work less makes you a less valuable employee–man or woman. It just so happens that women typically make this CHOICE on their own more often than men.

          • ifrit

            Your analogy is still bad, because the argument is not that people should get paid more when they do the work better. It’s that depending on sex, certain people are guaranteed to do better. To make the analogy correct, you’d need two supermodels, one female and one male. They both do their job equally well, but the person hiring them *assumes* that at some point in the future, the female model will get pregnant, gain weight, start waddling from all those pregnancy hormones, and become unfit for her work as a model. Therefore, the person hiring decides to pay the woman less now, for doing the exact same work as the man, because of gender-related problems they assume will arise in the future. That is the sort of argument the OP made. And it doesn’t make sense. Why insist on saying that men should be paid more for construction work than women because they can lift more? First, not all men can lift more than all women. Second, construction work involves many skills completely unrelated to strength. Third, why not just list an amount that has to be lifted as a job requirement, and pay everyone who can lift the required amount equally? I’ve worked many jobs that had a lifting requirement. I could lift it, therefore I was qualified. My sex did not matter. If you’re not making silly assumptions based on possible future outcomes, why do you need to bring gender into it at all?

            • Raúl Ramírez

              Your last line: “why do you need to bring gender into it at all?” Good point. This is why my analogies have never included gender because it has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with the amount of value provided. It just so happens that when you look at females in the workforce overall, women choose different jobs and take more time off from work. This is a different level of value which some law mandating “equal pay” cannot adequately account for.