Friday, September 20, 2013

Who makes more -- apples or oranges?

I used to have my undergraduates debate in class the legitimacy of the "gender wage gap" issue.  Invariably, after reading articles on both sides of the issue, the vast majority of students correctly realized that when you make valid, apples-to-apples comparisons, there is virtually no wage gap between genders.  But the topic is too powerful politically for feminists and their supporters to grant that this really is not an issue.  Much better, from their perspective, to confuse and obfuscate and keep the topic alive than acknowledge that our society has successfully addressed an older social and  economic ill.  For my OLS readers, here's a slice of an excellent post on the topic by economist Mark Perry at his Carpe Diem blog:
To claim that a significant portion of the raw wage gap can only be explained by discrimination is intellectually dishonest and completely unsupported by the empirical evidence. And yet we hear all the time from groups like the National Committee on Pay Equity, the American Association of University Women, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and even President Obama that women “are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.” And in most cases when that claim is made, there is almost no attention paid to the reality that almost all of the raw, unadjusted pay differentials can be explained by everything except discrimination – hours worked, age, marital status, children, years of continuous experience, workplace conditions, etc.