Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Sex Bias in Pay - The Debate Continues

A recent study by June O'Neill, a professor of economics in the business school at Baruch College in New York and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, featured in an article in Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times finds that up to 97% of pay differentials between men and women can be attributed to choices, not discrimination. Sounds similar to the findings of economist Thomas Sowell in several different areas. Still as Sun-Times writer Kate N. Grossman points out, there are others who still see bias as a culprit.

Professor O'Neill is not new to this area of study, having testified before a Congressional committee in 2000, and also contributing an article on the ill fated theory of comparable worth to the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.

Update: Thanks to writer Kate Grossman for pointing out that O'Neill's study was able to explain up to 97% of the reason for wage difference, not a flat 97% as I originally wrote it. The study explains 91% to 97% depending on which coefficient O'Neill uses in her regression analysis. So best case, still an unexplained 3%. About a year's raise difference these days.

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