The Economics of Sex Differentials, 1974, page 2

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The qu«~.~:Linn l‘e‘.!11.'"1l11!~§ as to whether the unexplained portion of these

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differentials is the result of discrimination. Those who have attempted
to explain these sex differentials by means of the above analysis suggest
that better measurement of the relevant variables will enable them to
explain all of the wage and unemployment differentials by differences in
productivity and tastes. A feminist point of view, on the other hand,
suggests that even the portion of the gap explained in this way can be
considered a product of another fonn of discrimination, which works:more
subtly through the socialization process and affects women's "free" choices
about themselves.

Let us consider a hypothetical example of how these two contrasting

approaches would deal with the earnings gap which exists even between men

“and women with apparently similar characteristics. Suppose a male college

graduate is earning one and a half times as much as a female college


Suppose further that these two individuals, aside from being of differentj

sexes, are alike in in all observed characteristics; most importantly, they I’

have both completed the same amount of schooling and have the same number fg',l”“

of years of work experience. How do we explain the substantial difference.

in their earnings? The first approach outlined above would emphasize the@

importance of the remaining productivity differences between these two people,‘

which are less easily measurable. These include quality differences in

schooling and post-schooling training which are not captured in a simple
one-dimensional measure such as number of years of schooling or experience.
For example, the man might be earning more because he "chose" a major in

This would imply a female/male wage ratio of 0.667.

The actual ratio is
somewhat lower than this. In 1970, it was 0.594.

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