If Women Were More Like Men: Why Females Earn Less

Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 11:20 am
If Women Were More Like Men: Why Females Earn Less

One of the oldest debates in contemporary social science is why women earn less than men. Conservatives tend to argue that because women anticipate taking time off to raise children, they have fewer incentives to work hard in school, and they choose careers where on-the-job training and long hours are less important. Liberals tend to focus on sex discrimination as the explanation. Obviously some mixture of those factors is at work, but academics have long been frustrated when they try to estimate which force is greater: women's choices or men's discrimination.

A new study looks at this problem in a wonderfully inventive way. In previous studies, academics have looked at variables like years of education and the effects of outside forces such as nondiscrimination policies. But gender was always the constant. What if it didn't have to be? What if you could construct an experiment in which a random sample of adults unexpectedly changes sexes before work one day? Kristen Schilt, a sociologist at the University of Chicago and Matthew Wiswall, an economist at New York University, couldn't quite pull off that study. But they have come up with the first systematic analysis of the experiences of transgender people in the labor force. And what they found suggests that raw discrimination remains potent in U.S. companies.
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Bi-Polar Bear
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 11:22 am
@Robert Gentel,
if women were more like men men wouldn't be sexually frustrated and horny.
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Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2008 01:37 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel--Do you really think so? Raw Discrimination? I don't think that argument would hold up in relation to law firms. There are now more women graduating from law school than men. The studies with which I am familiar show that women from the top twenty law schools are disproportionatly represented in government jobs such as the Justice Department and legal branches of the government inDC and major American cities.

When one examines the roster of law firms and the number of Associates that begin in Big Law at very good salaries-$200,000 to start ( bonus included), there are about five women to every six men. By the time that the women would get to be partners the ratio falls to three women to every six men.

Discrimination? If you say that the law firm states--" If you can't pull your weight for sixty or seventy hours a week, you wont make partner here', is discrimination, then OK. Otherwise, it is only law firms trying to maximize their profits.
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Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2008 02:06 am
@Robert Gentel,
Actually, that IS a very elegant, if not perfect, way of approaching the issue.

Very interesting study.
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