Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Economics Tuesday 2: Learning about the Gender Gap in Wages

This is a topic close to my heart and my brain.  It's also a topic which is almost always subject to a lot of wishful thinking.  Conservatives and anti-feminists argue that women just choose to earn less because they don't want to have risky or dangerous jobs and because they want to be with their babies etc.  Indeed, I frequently read that "everyone knows there's no gender gap in wages at all because men work harder."  On the other side of the political aisle, I frequently read that the whole gross gender gap in earnings is evidence of women not being paid the same for exactly the same work.

The actual evidence doesn't support either one of those stances, though it does demonstrate that there is an unexplained difference in the average earnings of men and women (and also similar unexplained earnings differences between otherwise identical workers of different races and ethnic groups).  This post from last spring gives lots of links to those of you who would like to learn more.  I encourage it, because getting properly informed is important.  The posts on sex segregation at work (post 1, post 2 and post 3) are the most recent ones and come highly recommended by me.  Um.  Also this one, because it's on the politics.