Thursday, September 01, 2011

Gender Wage Gap and Occupational Fatality Gap




"Are women discriminated against in the workplace? Looking at the data, women on average earn an annual wage that is approximately 75% that of men, which many people believe is the result of discrimination. However, when Prof. Steve Horwitz analyzes the data more closely, he finds that women make certain choices, such as career selection and raising children, which tend to result in lower wages than men. These choices could be the result of personal preferences or sexist cultural expectations for women's work, though the relative influence of these two factors remains unclear."

Another factor that can explain some of the "gender wage gap" is the huge "gender occupational fatality gap." Last year, men were 12 times more likely than women to get killed on the job, see the chart below and read my post today about this topic on the Enterprise Blog.  More men than women are willing to work in high-risk occupations, with both higher wages and a higher chance of workplace-related injury or death, which can help explain some of the disparity in wages by gender.
 

18 Comments:

At 9/01/2011 5:34 PM, Blogger Marko said...

You may be asking yourself: are there any comparisons of wages paid to employees in the same position with the same qualifications and the same level of performance? Wouldn't that be a better indicator of a Sex Gap than looking at aggregate data that can be influenced by career choices etc.?

Well, the answer is yes, this gets tested all the time in court and is rather rare. The reason is that it is already against the law to pay people less for work if they are female. You can tell it is rare because woman rarely can show that they are getting paid less than men for the same work. If there was such widespread "gender" bias in pay, then woman would be making a ton of money as 1963 Equal Pay Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964 plaintiffs. The plan fact of the matter is that when actual people in actual jobs are compared, sex is very very rarely the determining factor in pay or promotions.

 
At 9/01/2011 5:37 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

Do you mean to say that the choices a person makes may affect their wage? And that men and women sometimes make different choices?

Don't be absurd Perry!

 
At 9/01/2011 5:42 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You may be asking yourself: are there any comparisons of wages paid to employees in the same position with the same qualifications and the same level of performance? Wouldn't that be a better indicator of a Sex Gap than looking at aggregate data that can be influenced by career choices etc.?"

In addition, if an employer could actually pay women less for the same qualifications and level of performance, they would be stupid to hire any men at all.

 
At 9/01/2011 6:32 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Good point Ron H. - that may be why male employment is so much lower than female employment right now! lol.

 
At 9/01/2011 7:09 PM, Blogger Jon D said...

What about total compensation instead of simply looking at wages? Women are more likely to place a high value on things like health care benefits than men are.

 
At 9/01/2011 9:28 PM, Blogger DL said...

Another relevant issue. Women in high political office are still in the minority. For example, the U.S. Senate has 17 women (I believe). The point is, that if women voters collectively were concerned about putting women in office, there would be far more of them there. And Hillary would be President.

One logical conclusion is that women voters, in the aggregate, find men to be more qualified than women (for high political office, at least).

 
At 9/01/2011 9:32 PM, Blogger DL said...

Misterjosh,


There are plenty of trial lawyers who have extreme difficulty understanding these simple concepts.

 
At 9/01/2011 10:17 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

DL,

First of all, I think fewer women run. Secondly, as a woman voter (though, why I bother I don't know), I understand that a politician who is a woman is still a disgusting politician. Having the same reproductive organs as me is not really something I look for in a candidate.

Nancy Pelosi is a woman and I would dearly love to replace her with something far more intelligent and less destructive. A wild boar would do the trick.

 
At 9/01/2011 11:47 PM, Blogger aorod said...

I believe that the stubborn unemployment but continued growth in the economy is due to a developing black market. As government regulations and mandated wage increases have taken hold, more people are driven underground and have become individual contractors and many of the transactions are in cash. We're becoming like the Japanese.

 
At 9/02/2011 12:27 AM, Blogger DL said...

Methinks,

"A wild boar would do the trick"

LOL

 
At 9/02/2011 5:30 AM, OpenID American Delight said...

I'm waiting for the feminists to start demanding more occupational fatalities for women. That would be more "fair," donchya know?

 
At 9/02/2011 10:43 AM, Blogger Paul said...

The great comedian Bill Burr has a hilarious routine about this. Google "Bill Burr Women's Rights" and watch it on Youtube. I'd link it but it's banned at my work.

 
At 9/02/2011 12:58 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I'm waiting for the feminists to start demanding more occupational fatalities for women. That would be more "fair," donchya know?"

Either that or men could start marching and waving signs demanding less pay for equal work.

 
At 9/02/2011 1:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Bill Burr Women's Rights

Thanks, Paul, that's funny.

 
At 9/02/2011 2:55 PM, Blogger KK Hubbs said...

There is plenty of data to show that men are more likely to ASK for more money than women. For example, with new college hires, there is data to show that a far higher percentage of males will negotiate their salary. Women are more apt to just accept what they are offered.

 
At 9/02/2011 3:57 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Hubbs, you're right.

Women are simply more expensive employees. Thus, is absolutely true that women must be much better at their jobs than men to be worth the same amount to the employer.

Between pregnancy and childcare (which disproportionately falls on women), women tend to be less productive and work must be shifted to other employees when family duty calls. This represents additional, uncompensated work for all other employees. Alternatively, work doesn't get done while the indisposed female employee attends to her personal business and this represents a direct cost to the employer. Thus, compensation must be discounted to account for the lower expected productivity of a female employee.

As a woman, I was never paid less than my male colleagues and I was almost always paid more. I negotiated hard, I wasn't afraid to move to another job and I knew that hiring a woman in her child bearing years represented an additional risk to my employer which meant that I had to make myself more valuable than other employees. Facing reality yields better results than whining.

How many decades have women's groups been bitching about this and what has all that blather changed?

 
At 9/02/2011 4:18 PM, Blogger Stan said...

Ben Wattenberg wrote about this in his book almost 30 years ago -- "The good news is, the bad news is wrong."

 
At 9/02/2011 5:33 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Good point, Methinks - I would like to see a comparison of average hours worked per day of men and woman, especially in the same job.

On another point, there are studies that show tall men earn more than short men, and "difficult" people make more money than people that are easy to get along with. How would it be possible for difference in sex not produce non-discriminatory differences in pay? I am pretty sure there is no boss that is thinking "that guy is taller, I am giving him a bigger raise." Of course this raises the possibility of unconscious sex discrimination, but that is already illegal - what more do they want??

 

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