October 24 2012
I just got off a press conference call with the American Association of University Women press. Subject: AAUW's new report on the so-called pay gap between young men and young women a year out of college.
Non-Surprise: despite my having punched the right numbers on my phone, I was not called upon to ask a question.
The Independent Women’s Forum and many scholars and economists have thoroughly debunked the wage gap: When women’s choices are factored in, it almost vanishes. Indeed, one study (see Carrie Lukas on this study) found that among college-educated, urban professionals between the ages of 22-30, women out-earn the men by 8 percent.
This study is anathema to groups such as the AAUW that call for ever-expanding government to deal with "discrimination." That is likely why the AAUW did this study. They need to combat those who have done analysis that doesn't reach the conclusiton they desire.
Whether they failed to call on me because I work for the Independent Women’s Forum or it was just an oversight, I can’t say.
But I will ask my question now, Gentle Reader:
Although the report announces that young women are currently paid 82 cents on the dollar of what their young, male counterparts earn, when the researchers controlled for pertinent factors (men are more likely than women to pursue certain kinds of jobs, for example), the study finds a 6.6 gap.
As one of the speakers on the conference call put it, when you compare apples and apples, this is what you get. So, if this is the real wage gap, why do you persist in saying that it is 18 percent? Is 6.6 (or 7 percent as it was called on the phone call) simply not impressive enough to justify government intervention?
The second point about that 6.6: it is, as the study admits, “unexplained.” Suggested causes: gender discrimination, insufficient negotiation skills on the part of women, or perhaps women are less willing to re-locate.
Had I been called upon, I would have asked if there is any way to prove that discrimination is a factor. If so, can you quantify it within that 6.6 percent? Looks like the best they can say, based on the facts, is that discrimination counts for--at most--a portion of a 6.6 discrepancy. But many voters might not regard this as large enough to justify federal laws that would make it difficult for employers to pay according to merit.
But then I didn’t get to raise any of these issues.