Friday, January 30, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Statistical frauds distort equal-pay debate

sowell column sig

By
From page A9 | April 20, 2014 |

The “war on women” political slogan is in fact a war against common sense.

It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn – and that this is because of discrimination.

It would certainly be discrimination if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same.

Constantly repeating the “77 percent” statistic does not make them the same. It simply takes advantage of many people’s ignorance – something that Barack Obama has been very good at doing on many other issues.

What if you compare women and men who are the same on all the relevant characteristics?

First of all, you can seldom do that, because the statistics you would need are not always available for the whole range of occupations and the whole range of differences between women’s patterns and men’s patterns in the labor market.

Even where relevant statistics are available, careful judgment is required to pick samples of women and men who are truly comparable.

For example, some women are mothers and some men are fathers. But does the fact that they are both parents make them comparable in the labor market? Actually the biggest disparity in incomes is between fathers and mothers. Nor is there anything mysterious about this, when you stop and think about it.

How surprising is it that women with children do not earn as much as women who do not have children? If you don’t think children take up a mother’s time, you just haven’t raised any children.

How surprising is it that men with children earn more than men without children, just the opposite of the situation with women? Is it surprising that a man who has more mouths to feed is more likely to work longer hours? Or take on harder or more dangerous jobs, in order to earn more money?

More than 90 percent of the people who are killed on the job are men. There is no point pretending that there are no differences between what women do and what men do in the workplace, or that these differences don’t affect income.

During my research on male-female differences for my book “Economic Facts and Fallacies,” I was amazed to learn that young male doctors earned much higher incomes than young female doctors. But it wasn’t so amazing after I discovered that young male doctors worked more than 500 hours more per year than young female doctors.

Even when women and men work at jobs that have the same title – whether doctors, lawyers, economists or whatever – people do not get paid for what their job title is, but for what they actually do.

Women lawyers who are pregnant, or who have young children, may have good reasons to prefer a 9 to 5 job in a government agency to working 60 hours a week in a high-powered law firm. But there is no point comparing male lawyers as a group with female lawyers as a group, if you don’t look any deeper than job titles.

Unless, of course, you are not looking for the truth, but for political talking points to excite the gullible.

Even when you compare women and men with the “same” education, as measured by college or university degrees, the women usually specialize in a very different mix of subjects, with very different income-earning potential.

Although comparing women and men who are in fact comparable is not easy to do, when you look at women and men who are similar on multiple factors, the sex differential in pay shrinks drastically and gets close to the vanishing point. In some categories, women earn more than men with the same range of characteristics.

If the 77 percent statistic was for real, employers would be paying 30 percent more than they had to, every time they hired a man to do a job that a woman could do just as well. Would employers be such fools with their own money? If you think employers don’t care about paying 30 percent more than they have to, just go ask your boss for a 30 percent raise!

Thomas Sowell is an author, economist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 9 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • mike kirchubelApril 20, 2014 - 9:11 am

    "If you think employers don't care about paying 30% more than they have to,..." maybe that's why they are paying women less. What a load of sowell.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Dave ShreeveApril 20, 2014 - 10:17 am

    Typical knee jerk "progressive" reaction. Don't argue the stats, demean the messenger. What a load of kirchubel. Obama's White House had to admit that it pays women 88 cents on the dollar compared to men, and for all the same reasons (education, experience, time out from working to raise children, etc.) everyone else brings out for the so called wage disparity. To quote Dr. Sowell, "when you look at women and men who are similar on multiple factors, the sex differential in pay shrinks drastically and gets close to the vanishing point. " Also remember that equal pay laws have been on the books for over 50 years now.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mike kirchubelApril 20, 2014 - 11:19 am

    You agree that even the White House pays women less than men and then, using right wing "logic" claim that unequal pay doesn't exist. What a load of sowell. Thanks for the laugh.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jason KnowlesApril 20, 2014 - 12:41 pm

    Mike, I rarely agree with Sowell, but speaking statistically (that is, through data) he is right. Politifact even rated this talking point as "mostly false." From Politifact: "The 77-cent figure compares all male and female workers, regardless of their occupation. Whether due to a historical legacy of discrimination or because of personal choice, women and men are disproportionately represented in certain jobs. For instance, women dominate the ranks of receptionists, nurses, and elementary and middle-school teachers, among other fields. Men are disproportionately truck drivers, managers and computer software engineers. "If more men tend to be employed in occupations that pay higher wages both to men and women, then men may enjoy an overall earnings advantage even if all women in each occupation receive exactly the same hourly pay as the men who are employed in the occupation," said Gary Burtless, an economist with the Brookings Institution. Indeed, if you look at men and women working in the same professions, the pay gap is much smaller (though for most professions, it doesn’t disappear entirely)."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • http://theunhivedmind.com/wordpress3/2013/12/30/aipac-suppresses-report-highlighting-mossad-involvement-in-911-attacks/April 20, 2014 - 10:56 am

    In General Google hoover institute AIPAC see AIPAC suppresses report highlighting Mossad involvement in 9/11 ... I am researching whether The Hoover Institute is in the pocket of AIPAC... another War Monger NEOCON support group? The Hoover Institute? But having said this I do support the Conservative view of the also NWO controlled liberal Left's attempt to divide us... To keep us all divided is the key to success for the International Bankers... Your Liberal left "War on Women" Campaign is a Blatant PSYOP.... WAKE UP LADIES Do not fall for this.... and Remember the Conservative values of Judeo Christian religion is what has given any true respect and status to Women... For men to treat Women with respect as partners in marriage... and Jesus forgave Women in error, did not condemn them as not being worthy of forgiveness and salvation like some other religions.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • http://www.aipac.org/act/attend-events/policy-conference/videos/2013/speeches/bidenApril 20, 2014 - 11:22 am

    In General Google... joe Biden aipac ... see Vice President Joe Biden - Aipac ....... It would seem to me to not line up with the 10 Commandments Old Testament Torah and New Testament Love your Neighbor as Yourself... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.... To Have the NEOCONs ( with top Democrat help like the Clintons/Biden ) The British Banker Controlled MI5/6 and the Israeli Mossad Saudi and Pakistani Intelligence ....set up 9/11 to carryout war on innocent Muslims, even if they do tend to be violent and destructive among themselves. What happened to Thou shalt not kill... Thou shalt not steal... Thou shalt not covet...'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.' Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Your God in Vain.... Doing this under the cover of being a Christian Nation... A Jewish Nation.... ? Obama continues this Legacy. So tell us Exactly what explosives/cutting charges/nanothermite/ ?other charges did you use on World Trade Centers 1 and 2 ( now replaced by One World Trade Center ) what about building 7 and even building 6? How did you pilot by remote control the planes into the buildings? Did you switch planes... Did they land and other planes take off that actually hit the towers... or were the original planes at least one or two downed in the Atlantic? Mossad you have BLOWN YOUR COVER. Same thing with the top Heirarchy of the Republican and Democrat parties.... A missle hit the Pentagon ... NO AIRCRAFT WRECKAGE at the pentagon. Congress should call for an immediate ( but temporary ) cessation of the Executive's command of the Military and an end to all ongoing war operations... Make the Rothschild's use only their European Operatives... NOT USE us/The US anymore to kill innocent people.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Unfortunatly PeopleApril 20, 2014 - 11:56 am

    I have always wondered why actually when you look at it that the Illuminati made it so OBVIOUS to anyone who looks... Even the outing of the True Nature of 9/11 can be turned to International Banker advantage.... because at some point they plan to take America down... and now we are THE BAD GUY in the World... Remember the Illuminati play both sides of every issue and are experts at setting countries up for condemnation like they are trying to do with Libya, Syria, Ukraine/Crimea/Russia, Iran.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895April 21, 2014 - 12:41 am

    Before StR spoils another discussion, let me get my licks in. I don't see anything wrong with Sowell's argument except whether he is fairly representing Obama in how the "77%" statistic is cited and used. Obama's first act as president was to sign a wage discrimination bill, as I recall. It was to address a real problem of discrimination and the court's refusal to permit relief by overly restrictive procedural barriers. That may not change the 77%, but it will give an individual person the ability to fight for justice, and that's enough. Let's look for where Obama has misrepresented the 77%; that seems to me to be the issue.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • AnnaMarie CharleboisAugust 26, 2014 - 4:37 pm

    Very informative and fascinating, very well written as usual sir!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Solano summit focuses on ways to end poverty

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 23 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Teens earn right to perform with symphony

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
From classical to Queen: Chamber Players are ready

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Photographer has a passion for color

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cadets learn skills for future careers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
 
‘Souper Bowl’ coming to Solano County

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
SolTrans announces changes to bus routes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

California’s snow survey shows far less snow than last month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
State to move more than 2,000 inmates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boy Scouts reaches settlement in sex abuse case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Protestors shun sister-city relationship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
City event criticized for Mexican mafia connection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Tech advances lower chance that driver will die in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Family killed man over child custody dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Killer says his ideas influenced family suicide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NASA astronaut memorial stirs memories for shuttle veteran

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Anonymized’ credit card data not so anonymous, study shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Fort Hood gunman Hasan says he wants to keep top lawyer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Attorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Simultaneous attacks in Egypt’s Sinai kill 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Indonesian investigators: Crashed AirAsia flown by co-pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, at least 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Deadly San Francisco blaze spurs look at fire alarms

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 30, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Jan. 30, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My cousin’s 14-year-old son sleeps in the same bed as his grandma

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Jan. 30 through Feb. 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘The Thorn Birds’ author Colleen McCullough dies at age 77

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hilary Duff, George Lopez help in search for stolen dog

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Musician Geezer Butler arrested in Death Valley altercation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lil Wayne sues mentor’s record label for $51M, seeking split

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway’s ‘An Act of God’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bernie Mac widow drops malpractice lawsuit against doctor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Desert stars: Celebs converge on Phoenix for Super Bowl 49

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Serena aims for 19th major in Aussie final vs. Sharapova

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Marshawn Lynch talks about why he doesn’t talk to the media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Vanden boys pull away from feisty Fairfield 86-66

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7

Gronkowski and Chancellor make for must-see Super Bowl matchup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Signups for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

.

Business

Chevrolet polishes its mid-size truck

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Prospect of Chinese cars in US still remain years away

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Senate passes Keystone XL bill, battles loom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
McDonald’s under siege as new CEO steps in

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Obama seeks spending spike for defense, domestic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
Who wants a bite of Hershey…jerky?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Gloria Elizabeth Neal

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9