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Why women make less than men in the work place

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Gabriel Tobal posted on Sun, Jan 29 2012 7:59 AM

I was listening to Walter Block's lecture on labor economics, but I don't recall him covering why women typically make less money than men do in the work place. can anyone please elaorate why this is?  

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwogDPh-Sow

 

I saw this thread and I'm like "I can help!" :)

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Damn it Wheylous, that video covered f***ing everything! Way to steal my thunder!

Annnyyway. What I can contribute here is that 

The wage gap in America has been closing over time. This process has slowed since the turn of the century (which is of course a fun way of saying the last decade) which would suggest that we are reaching the point where the career decisions/the current discrimination level meet. This is to say that of course there is some discrimination against women in the workforce, but that in order to break that initial barrier there needs to be innovators who promote themselves and break through the "glass ceiling". If this happens then the fact is that it's going to be broken, but so long as women remain at lower levels then that's not going to go anywhere too fast. On the other hand as public opinion continues to liberalize (a slow process) then wages will start to equalize even without a large push from women because those seeking jobs higher up will seem more employable. This whole state of affairs can be seen in the fact that the higher up on the ladder you go, the fewer women are working there. For instance managerial positions are equal for men and women, but then there's a steep falloff from that point, suggesting that there isn't a huge anti-female conspiracy in business, but rather that fewer women start attempting to grab these jobs, which is an entirely reasonable thing to expect.

It's also important to note that the argument for the individual conservatism of the people as playing a larger part in the matter seems vindicated by statistics involving wage inequality internationally. The relatively conservative and traditional country of Japan has a huge income inequality between men and women, whereas France has a much smaller one, and the United States has a noticeably larger level than France's, but much smaller than Japan's. It is quite likely we will see business policies promoting women in the future, because it would appear that companies which higher women are noticeably successful (which makes sense from any number of points of view).

Source: http://www.economist.com/node/21539928

The market economy gives people what they want. Wage discrimination cannot be maintained in a competitive environment because the potential monetary gain from hiring women is too intense to ignore on the part of business. The capitalist economy will do whatever it can to rush to satisfy the wellbeing of the consumer. In the long run business will fall into line, all points in between where business is the problem in the equalization of income have no chance of lasting. All that matters in the long run are the choices of the individuals in question. It is ultimately the actions of women, in what they do with their lives and how this affects their worth within the market economy that will determine the pay they receive. Women, and all other groups, inevitably have nothing to look at but themselves.

I hope that helps.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Gabriel Tobal:
I was listening to Walter Block's lecture on labor economics, but I don't recall him covering why women typically make less money than men do in the work place. can anyone please elaorate why this is?

The very notion of a "wage gap" is nonsense, economically. Labor is a factor of production like iron or wheat. Employers bid for labor according to supply and demand. They always want to hire the cheapest labor that can do the job. If any type of labor, say women, was less costly for the same value, then employers would preferably hire women until their wages are bid up to the level of men. That's why a "wage gap" in the fashion the feminists envision it can't actually exist in a market economy. Any employer who wants to discriminate would have to choose to hire more expensive labor at the cost of his bottom line. Even if he was willing to pay the price - and aren't we told that they're too greedy and selfish for that? - he would put himself at a competitive disadvantage and eventually lose out to employers who don't discriminate. The only way discrimination can exist is if the government stifles competition or mandates equal wages, then discrimination is free. Socialism subsidizes discrimination!

But what about statistics that say that women only make x cents for every Dollar men make? Well, partly they're just made up by angry feminists. Secondly, they compare groups that just aren't comparable. Women tend to choose different careers than men. Men like engineering, women like social tasks. Obviously different jobs pay differently. So then let's correct for that, let's compare what they make for "the same job". Doesn't work either, because men tend to work longer hours. Then let's correct for that too! Nope, there are differences in age, experience and training. Let's correct for that too... whoops, our wage gap is gone. In fact, women are already ahead of men in a lot of prestigious fields once you correct for a few legitimate differences. For example in college. But it's not like feminists care about that kind of inequality. It's only a problem when it's the other way around. Feminists don't care about equality, that's just an argument to get more state-enforced special privileges for their class.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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NonAntiAnarchist:
Grossly collectivizing tens of millions of distinct individuals into gender groups strips them of the beautiful, unique attributes they possess, and makes me absolutely sick.

It's completely antithetical to the idea that our substance is determined by our character, our values, and the decisions we make as *individuals*, rather than our gender. So therefore, I reject the premise of the entire question.

Well, feminism is a form of classism. Like racism. The left is still pretty hip to the idea that people should be treated according to what class they are in, rather than the contents of their character.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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Double post please delete.

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  • Well, feminism is a form of classism.

Not entirely. Certainly things like claiming all men have inherent privelage and whatnot are certainly classist, but there are large portions of feminism that are more about anti-sexism than actual Male-vs-Female stuff. Those portions of it are actually a force for anti-classism. Sexism is a pretty significant issue in our society, and even moreso in other areas of the globe, I wouldn't be so quick to discount it.

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Feminism as a political force is a form of classism, rent-seeking, etc., however feminism also addresses fundamental cultural issues in the third world, like how in the middle east you will see bongo trucks with the father driving, the sons all crowded into the cab, and the women in the back with the livestock. As most of us realize, they simply do not address these issues effectively, because all they do is "raise awareness" and annoy the shit out of people with real jobs. An austrian feminist might start a business that employed these women and gave them options.
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
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Take the statism out of almost anything, and it suddenly becomes a virtue.

Markets would force Feminism and other activist philosophies to become sane, and actually represent the legitimate concerns of the people. Not that feminism is insane, but aggregating all of women's salaries, and then all of men's, and then coming to the conclusion that guns should start being pointed at people is.

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Didn't he say there still is an average of .03 dollars in difference between men and women, given the same back ground and relative skill? Why whould this be? Is it your believe that women, in general, are just happier making .97 dollars an hour while men, in general, demand that extra .03 dollars?

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Albeaver89:
Didn't he say there still is an average of .03 dollars in difference between men and women, given the same back ground and relative skill? Why whould this be?

Because there are more factors than just skill and background, of course.

 

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Albeaver89:

Didn't he say there still is an average of .03 dollars in difference between men and women, given the same back ground and relative skill? Why whould this be? Is it your believe that women, in general, are just happier making .97 dollars an hour while men, in general, demand that extra .03 dollars?

 

.03 isn't insignificant? hmmm

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Well it depends, if you are .03 dollars away from buying something that you want or need probably not, but otherwise I'd say most people would say so.

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Forget the subjective argument of whether 3 cents is "significant".  Again, there are other factors to consider (i.e. other variables to control for) before you start comparing.

 

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Tom Sowell has a whole chapter regarding this subject in his Economic Facts and Fallacies.

If I had a cake and ate it, it can be concluded that I do not have it anymore. HHH

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Warren Farrell has a whole book regarding this subject.

 

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I hate economics and politics:

"If you want to defend your property and your right to do with it as you like, go spend 15 years studying philosophy and economics just so that you can defend yourself and then still be ridiculed as a creationist or some other smear!"

In this case, "to learn why capitalism isn't discriminating against women, watch this 50 hour lecture on why the data is wrong."

And it's not a "done deal" thing either - whenever some whack comes from psychology or something claiming to have found the reason for all our problems and the solution to them (which is, of course, not a respect for private property) you need to go study an entire different field just so that you can attempt to rebut him. If you don't, you're anti-intellectual and backwards because some expert has some breaking new finding.

Sigh. That's life.

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Wheylous:
"If you want to defend your property and your right to do with it as you like, go spend 15 years studying philosophy and economics just so that you can defend yourself and then still be ridiculed as a creationist or some other smear!"

How long have you been studying?  You're doing fine.

 

In this case, "to learn why capitalism isn't discriminating against women, watch this 50 hour lecture on why the data is wrong."

Not at all.  It's a one hour lecture, and it's only that long because he uses an interactive demonstration to help illustrate the point.  It's very simple.  Ferrell points out 25 differences in men and women’s work-life choices that lead to men making more money.

Difference in number of hours worked accounts for something like 72%+ of the wage gap.  Starting with video 2 you get to see the demonstration.  He split the room with men on one side and women on the other, and then went through each of the 25 factors, asking everyone to whom it applied, to stand up...so that you could see the difference.

The bottom line is, once you control for all the variables, women tend to make more than men for the same work.

For example, you might hear that male doctors make more than female doctors.  Well, for starters, male doctors work more hours.  Okay, so what about when females work the same hours...men still make more.  Well, men tend to be more specialized in something like cardiology whereas a women dominate fields like psychiatry.  Okay, male and female cardiologists who work the same hours.  Well the man would tend to have a private practice, whereas the woman would work in a general hospital.  Go down the line, controlling for each variable, and you find the pay gap shrinks and shrinks until it virtually disappears...or turns in the woman's favor.

It's that simple.  Control for the variables.  It's not complex, and anyone with half a brain should be able to reason that if you work more hours you should be taking home more money.

 

For a rundown of the book, see here.

For a list of the 25 factors, (i.e. choices that women can make if they want to earn more money) see here.

 

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