You've heard about the "gender pay gap."
That fable goes like this: since women in the aggregate earn only 79% of what men earn in the aggregate, women "earn 79% of what men earn for doing the same work."
You get extra points for brain-wave activity if you asked: "Wait, how did 'for doing the same work' get added onto that?"
I'll get to that in a minute.
The automobile manufacturer Audi just released an ad for virtue-signaling purposes to let us all know how outraged they are that women suffer from a 21% pay gap.
Right now the ratio of thumbs down to thumbs up for the ad on YouTube is running at 12 to 1, so not everyone in the world is brain dead.
So is there anything to the "pay gap" claim?
First of all, the needle on your b.s. meter should be all the way in the red even before investigating the statistics. With profit margins in the single digits in many parts of the economy, what firm could afford to give its male employees such an overwhelming advantage? They'd instantly fire all the men, replace them with women, and wipe the floor with their competition.
The very same people who accuse business of thinking about nothing but profit, in other words, now expect us to believe businesses will throw profit out the window because they hate women just that much.
I'm sure in feminist fantasyland there are people who consider this a reasonable way to think about the economy. But you're telling me not even one business has figured out the overwhelming advantage it could get by firing all its men?
So maybe there's more to the question after all.
For instance, the 79% statistic doesn't even correct for hours worked. So it's a flat-out lie on those grounds alone.
Oh, proponents of the theory pretend to account for hours worked. Why, we're comparing full-time workers to full-time workers, they protest.
But not all full-time workers are created equal.
As long as you work at least 35 hours a week, you're considered full time. So we need to disaggregate the numbers a bit.
For instance, women are 2.5 times more likely than men to work just 35-39 hours per week. Men are almost twice as likely to work more than 40 hours a week, and 2.5 times more likely to work over 60 hours per week.
You think that disparity might have a teensy effect on earnings?
So once we correct for hours worked, the gap is down to 10.7%.
Well, what about that 10.7%?
Here we have to ask: are women and men doing the same work? That's what's normally assumed by indignant protesters.
But they're not. In fact, the Obama White House itself had a 12% pay gap between men and women. How did they explain it away? Why, women and men do different things!
How about that!
Since women often intend to leave the labor force for extended periods of time in order to have children, they do not consider certain high-paying fields where their knowledge would be obsolete after so long an absence.
Instead, they prefer lower-paying jobs with schedules that are more convenient for their family lives.
When we compare never-married women and never-married men, we find (unsurprisingly) virtually no gap. What little gap that remains is accounted for by differentials in education, experience, etc.
So the "gender pay gap" is nothing a thinking person should worry about.
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