Monday, October 9, 2023

Is There A Gap In Paying Attention To The Gap In Pay?


From the article Claudia Goldin Wins Nobel in Economics for Studying Women in the Work Force by Jeanna Smialek (New York Times, Oct. 9, 2023):

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded on Monday to Claudia Goldin, a Harvard professor, for advancing the world’s understanding of women’s progress in the work force.


In the past, gender wage gaps could be explained by education and occupation. But Dr. Goldin has shown that most of the earnings difference is now between men and women in the same jobs, the Nobel committee said. Notably, it kicks in after the birth of a woman’s first child.

In a 15-year study of business school students at the University of Chicago, for instance, Goldin and her colleagues found in one paper that the gap in pay started to widen a year or two after a woman had her first baby.


While there has been “monumental progressive change, at the same time there are important differences,” she said, and those differences often tie back to women doing more work in the home. “We’re never going to have gender equality until we also have couple equity.”

Yet another Economics


Should the gap in pay focus on not the salary difference but on the efficiency of the hours one assigns temselves (singular of themselves) to work for a company? A person with a new child may work fewer hours, and earn less pay - this is an easy spotting for a pay difference. What is harder to spot is a person doing the same full-time employment as teir (singular of their) peers, but with teir mind distracted, refusing to work long hours, finding excuses for not traveling, and making baby-related personal calls during working hours. A full-time working day of such a person is less productive than a full-time working day of teir peers who do not have a child to take care of, either through fewer input hours or less efficiency. Companies pay salaries based on the output, and whoever outputs more (either through more hours or more efficiency) earns more, fair and square.

Above, I use "person" instead of "woman". I know personally of a young man who just had twins. His team works 12 hours a day, and he restricts himself to 8 hours a day so he can go home early and be with his children. He expects to get a so-so annual review. He and his wife make good money and they have a nanny. But it is his choice to work full-time less. He should expect a "pay gap" with his coworkers who work full-time more.

To solve the so-called "pay gap" problem is more than looking at "gender equity" or "couple equity"; it is to look at "working hour efficiency" for both men and women. Measuring fewer hours is easy with a clock-in-clock-out or log-in-log-out setup. How to measure efficiency while one is doing work with the same number of hours as teir peers is a harder problem. Unlike a manufacturing operation where the number of gadgets produced is used for efficiency, the efficiency of white-collar work is not easy to measure. Finding a way to measure it would be worthy for another Nobel Economic Prize.

1 comment:

Doc Ngu said...

The picture is generated with Microsoft Designer on the prompt:
"a distraught woman on the left, a smiling man on the right, the label "pay gap" in the middle. include all three elements in the picture."