Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gender-driven Wage Imbalance

Mark Perry at at Carpe Diem finds evidence of a "Reverse Gender Wage Gap":
...if you control for all of the important variables that contribute to wage differentials (age, marital status, having children, etc.), i.e. impose ceteris paribus conditions, there is no evidence of gender discrimination, and either there is no statistically significant wage gap, or now there's a wage gap in favor of women.
I think Alexander Hamilton would be pleased with this. In his Report on Manufactures, he recognized the importance of expanding the labor force:
III. As to the additional employment of classes of the community not ordinarily engaged in the particular business.

This is not among the least valuable of the means by which manufacturing institutions contribute to augment the general stock of industry and production. In places where those institutions prevail, besides the persons regularly engaged in them, they afford occasional and extra employment to industrious individuals and families who are willing to devote the leisure resulting from the intermissions of their ordinary pursuits to collateral labors as a resource of multiplying their acquisitions or enjoyments. The husbandman himself experiences a new source of profit and support from the encreased industry of his wife and daughters, invited and stimulated by the demands of the neighboring manufactories.

Besides this advantage of occasional employment to classes having different occupations, there is another of a nature allied to it and of a similar tendency. This is—the employment of persons who would otherwise be idle (and in many cases a burthen on the community), either from the bias of temper, habit, infirmity or body, or some other cause, indisposing or disqualifying them for the toils of the country. It is worthy of particular remark that, in general, women and children are rendered more useful, and the latter more early useful, by manufacturing establishments than they would otherwise be. Of the number of persons employed in the cotton manufactories of Great Britain, it is computed that 4/7 nearly are women and children, of whom the greatest proportion are children and many of them of a very tender age.

And thus it appears to be one of the attributes of manufactures, and one of no small consequence, to give occasion to the exertion of a greater quantity of industry, even by the same number of persons, where they happen to prevail, than would exist if there were no such establishments.

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