The Economics of Sex Differentials, 1974, page 1

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          THE ECONOMICS OF SEX DIFFERENTlALS* '
K by Cynthia B. Lloyd and Beth T. Niemi
\ . 1 I

There has been a great deal of debate recently on the sources of the wage
and unemployment differentials that exist between men and women. Our major
concern here is to try to sort out the relative importance of discrimination
in explaining these two differentials, with particular emphasis on the new
feminist perspective which is developing within the field of economics.

One school of economic andgysis believes it can explain these differentials
in terms of differences between the sexes in their natural preferences for
different kinds of work and in their productivity on the job. These

differences are believed to stem from women's dual role as a producer of

~non-market goods and services in the home and a worker in the labor force,

as contrasted with men's assumed single-minded commitment to market work.
It is true that, on the average, women have chosen to work in the.market,

less continuously than men. Earnings do increase with work experience in

general because both formal training and infonnal learning on the job increase:.H!‘

worker productivity. with less labor market experience and more movement'inl‘
and out of the labor force, women tend to be employed in inferior jobs at l~
lower wages, and also to suffer from more unemployment than men. Even so,

this approach still leaves much of the existing wage and unemployment
differentials unexplained. T f
_____;c;;tfil;_s:—fl;;a_;;a_séth.1; Niemi are Assistant Professors of-Economics

at Barnard College and Newark College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University,
respectively. This paper evolved from the discussion which took place in a
workshop chaired by the authors at the Barnard College conference on “The Scholar

and the Feminist," May 11, 1974, The authors wish to express their

appreciation to Harriet Zellner for her very helpful comments and suggestions.

  

 

 

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