The Economics of Sex Differentials, 1974, page 3

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mathematics or business administration in college while the woman "chose"

a major in literature. Although they have both worked for the same number
of years, perhaps the man's jobs formed an orderly career progression, with
substantial investment in on—the—job training, while the woman held a seriesl
of dead—end or unrelated jobs and actually received very little in the way
of training on the job. The woman's disconnected work history may haven
resulted from her anticipation of possible withdrawal from the labor force

or from an attempt to adapt her work lifetto her other family commitments.

This economic approach looks to differences such as these, rather than to{
discrimination against women, in seeking to explain the "unexplained" portion
‘of the earnings gap. Since we can never observe and measure all the relevant
variables so precisely, any statement as to what we would find if we couldl
do so mu§h necessarily remain unproven.

Other economists have looked at these questions from a feminist perspective
and find the point of View described above to be of dubious value, and to ix.

have two important weaknesses. First, even if we could measure and allow ”

for any and all male—female productivity differences stemming from differingnill

education, training and work commitment, it is extremely unlikely that we
could ever completely account for the entire gap between the earnings of men
and women. Second, these productivity differences themselves are the result
of a less direct form of discrimination, frequently referreg to as,role,
differentiation, to which both men and women are subject from birth. Women
are conditioned to expect to spend a substantial proportion of their lives
outside the labor force, and are implicitly or explicitly discouraged from
investing heavily in market—oriented skills and career preparation. Actuali
di§Rgimination against women in the labor market reinforces this effect,

and helps to make this socially conditioned expectation of secondary status

a Self-fulfilling prophecy,

 

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