THE 77 PERCENT CONFUSION: Are those figures “adjusted for relevant factors?”

THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014

Part 3—Or are you just happy to see us: According to one familiar statistic, American women earn, on average, only 77 percent as much as men.

This statistic may well represent a real societal problem. But no one who actually works in this field claims that this is a measure of how much women get paid, as compared to men, for doing the same work.

That said, partisans constantly make that claim. When they do, we the liberal rubes get conned, just as our conservative brethren get conned when they watch Sean on Fox.

How much less do women get paid for doing the same or equal work? It isn’t easy to answer that question.

It’s a little bit like Heraclitus’ river. You’ll never see that important question answered the same way twice!

That said, no one claims that the shortfall is as large as 23 cents on the dollar. No one claims that women get paid 77 percent as much “for the same or equal work.”

You may hear President Obama imply that women get shortchanged that much. He’s trying to fire the rubes.

You may hear Rachel Maddow imply that. She’s displaying her substantial, increasing skill as a Sean Hannity type.

Repeat: No expert claims that women only get paid 77 percent as much for doing the same work. That 77 cent statistic isn’t a measure of discrimination. It’s a measure of average income before adjustments have been made for a range of “relevant factors.”

Everyone knows this, except the people who keep getting it wrong. Often, this includes our ranking journalists, who can’t seem to stay on point.

Can we talk? If a journalist wants to discuss the wage gap, he or she should probably observe a bone simple distinction:

He should observe the distinction between (1) the earning gap which does exist between men and women, on average, and (2) the percentage of the income gap which results from discrimination or unequal treatment.

That may seem like a bone simple distinction. But our journalists have long been expert at fudging such simple points up.

Consider three recent examples. Simply put, no distinction is so simple that our scribes can’t botch it:

Katie McDonough: In this recent piece for Salon, Katie McDonough correctly wrote that “the pay gap is real...women do get paid less than men for doing the same work as their male peers.”

On average, that statement is almost certainly true. But McDonough cited large gaps in pay in various occupations—and her data almost surely don’t reflect what women get paid for the same or equal work.

Here’s the way it went down:
MCDONOUGH (4/8/14): Women, on average, earn less than their male peers. How much less depends on a number of factors.

The first rebuttal one hears when trying to discuss pay discrimination is, “But are we taking about equal work?” And the answer is yes, women do get paid less for doing the same work as their male peers. It’s why the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act exists. Ledbetter worked as an overnight supervisor at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. for nearly two decades. Just as she was about to retire, she received an anonymous note alerting her to the fact that she was making $3,727 per month, while men doing the same job—the same job— were being paid between $4,286 to $5,236 per month.

Ledbetter isn’t some anomaly. She is the face of the insidious operations of pay discrimination. It’s why there is now a law named after her. (A law that people like Rick Perry do not want to enforce.)

Here are some other examples of pay inequity within a single job, according to a breakdown of median weekly salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

*A male education administrator makes, on average, $1,566 a week. His female colleague earns, on average, 67 percent of that salary.
*A male high school teacher makes, on average, $1,050 a week. His female colleague earns, on average, 93 percent of that.
*A male physician makes, on average, $2,099 a week. His female colleague earns, on average, 67 percent of that.

This trend continues across fields.
In that passage, McDonough moves directly from a discussion of unequal pay for the same work to a set of statistics which almost surely aren’t intended to measure that.

As best we can tell, those statistics from the BLS are not intended as measures of pay for equal work. In the original source materials, we find no claim that they have not been “adjusted for relevant factors.”

This is why we say that:

For her source, McDonough links to this piece for the Pew Charitable Trusts by Susan Milligan. In the text of her piece, Milligan never says that she is discussing pay for equal work.

There is one graphic whose title may give the impression that pay for equal work is being measured, although even that isn’t clear. (Milligan probably didn’t create the graphic.) But Milligan links to this BLS report, which seems to make no claim to be measuring pay for equal work.

That BLS report presents “median usual weekly earnings” within a range of occupations. We see no claim that the data have been “adjusted for relevant factors”—for such factors as hours worked, years of seniority or type of job within the given occupation.

Almost surely, that isn’t pay for equal work. But neither the BLS report nor Milligan ever make the point clear. McDonough said it was.

Rachel Maddow: McDonough’s piece appeared in Salon on April 8. That night, Rachel Maddow interviewed Professor Heidi Hartmann (again) about the gender wage gap.

The two had staged a famously incoherent discussion of the gap in April 2012. Now, they tried it again.

Maddow blustered and misstated a bit, then introduced Hartmann. Right out of the gate, this exchange occurred:
MADDOW (4/8/14): Joining us now is Heidi Hartmann. She’s president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and she is a professor at George Washington University. She is also at the White House today for the equal pay event. Professor Hartmann, thank you very much for being with us.

HARTMANN: Pleasure to be with you again, Rachel.

MADDOW: I just want to ask you a very basic but specific question. Do American women make less money than men when they are doing the same work?

HARTMANN: Well, it’s that “doing the same work” that is tricky. There are many companies in which a man and a woman in the same job would get equal pay. But it turns out there are many companies where they don’t. And you know, we took a look just recently at the twenty largest occupations for women, these are occupations that sound the same like let’s say customer service representative, retail worker. And the wage gaps ranged, the wage ratios ranged from like 68 percent, women making only 68 percent of what men make in retail, to 94 percent, women making 94 percent of what men make in customer service work.
Maddow asked how much less women get paid for doing the same work. After saying the “same work” part of the question was tricky, Hartmann cited several statistics which don’t seem designed to answer that question.

(To see the IWPR report in question, click here. We see no claim that the earning data have been “adjusted for relevant factors”—that the statistics represent pay “for the same work.”)

Did Professor Hartmann’s statistics represent pay “for the same work?” Viewers probably got that impression, but Maddow never clarified the point.

Maddow and Hartmann are getting to be a bit like a vaudeville team. Tomorrow, we’ll offer more detail from their two performances.

The New York Times editorial board: Two days later, the New York Times editorial board cleared its throat, then discussed the gender wage gap.

Midway through their piece, the editors acknowledged the fact that the famous 77 cent statistic is not a measure of pay for equal work. (“It is not a comparison of what men and women are paid for performing the same or comparable jobs.”)

We’ll bite! How much do men and women get paid “for performing the same or comparable jobs?” In this fairly lengthy chunk, note the way the editors fail to answer that question.

The editors supply a trio of statistics which haven’t been “adjusted for relevant factors.” But they omit the AAUW statistic which has been so adjusted:
NEW YORK TIMES (4/10/14): Threaded through the political fight over pay fairness is a continuing debate about the size of the pay gap. Mr. Obama and others often cite 77 cents as what women make on average for every $1 earned by men—a figure that critics say is an exaggeration.

In fact, it is a rough, but important, measure of overall workplace inequality. It is not a comparison of what men and women are paid for performing the same or comparable jobs. But, in representing the full-time wages of a working woman against that of a full-time working man, it reflects overt discrimination as well as more nuanced gender-based factors, like the fact that women are disproportionately concentrated in the lowest-paying fields and not well-represented in higher-paying fields. Of course, 77 cents is not the only measure. But there is no doubt that the pay gap is real.

The Pew Research Center last year found that women earned 84 percent of what men earned in its study of the hourly wages of all workers, including those who work part time. Similarly, a 2013 review by the Economic Policy Institute of annual hourly wages for men and women with college degrees, including salaried and hourly workers, found that the men earned on average $33.71 per hour and the women just $25.35 an hour.

Even controlling for hours, occupations, marital status, and other relevant factors, college-educated women earn less than their male counterparts, according to a recent study by the American Association of University Women. And a study issued this month by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported that women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly every occupation, including the most common occupations for full-time working women, like elementary- and middle-school teaching and nursing.
The editors cite three different statistics which haven’t been “adjusted for relevant factors.” These statistics show significant gaps in average incomes between women and men.

But how odd! The editors report that another study—a study by the AAUW—shows that “college-educated women earn less than their male counterparts” even after adjusting for relevant factors. But they fail to report how large that adjusted wage gap is!

This seems to be the report in question. It says the gap is 7 cents after controlling for relevant factors.

If that gap results from discrimination, it should of course be addressed, where possible. But was that measure of pay for equal work too small to suit the editors?

They specifically cited three larger pay gaps, using statistics which haven’t been adjusted for relevant factors. But they didn’t include the smaller pay gap, the statistic which has been designed to approximate pay for equal work.

So it endlessly goes.

How much less do women get paid for doing the same or equal work? It’s an important question.

We’d like to see the news division at the Times report on this important topic. We’d like to see them clarify the various statistics which float around when this topic gets discussed.

The Times won’t likely do any such thing concerning this fraught topic. As we’ve often told you, elementary facts play almost no role in our clownish discourse.

Instead, the proselytizers often take over when this topic gets discussed. As they teach you what to think about the wage gap, they may routinely fail to observe a basic, bone-simple distinction:

They may report the gap in earnings without “adjusting for relevant factors.” As they do, they may pretend or suggest that they’re reporting the difference in pay “for the same or equal work.”

In our view, Rachel Maddow’s work on this topic is becoming a modern classic. Tomorrow, we’ll show why we increasingly think of Sean when we see Rachel at work.

Tomorrow: Maddow and Costello

Just to be clear about the lack of clarity: Look at Milligan’s report. Look at the BLS report from which she worked.

Look at the IWPR report, the one which Hartmann cited.

Do those reports present statistics concerning pay for equal work? Do those statistics represent pay for women after “adjusting for relevant factors?”

We aren't sure—but go ahead, waste your day! Just try to puzzle that out!

47 comments:

  1. Our blogging global warming denier strikes again.

    Bob, this subject has been studied every way 'til Sunday, and the result is always the same: Across any line you want to bring up to excuse it away and pretend it doesn't exist --- occupational, educational, racial, professional, certified skilled, unskilled -- women make less than men.

    And even when there is a famous case of Ledbetter making less than the 15 men with the same job, you even find a way to dismiss that with "just a few people working in one office."

    What next, Bob? You going to finally admit you've joined the Hannity Tribe and tell us that sunspots, volcanoes and cattle farts haven't been accounted for as causes of global warming, so to say human activity is playing a big role is "misleading"?

    Go right ahead. You knew schtick seems to be denying that a subject that has been studied and re-studied for years hasn't really been studied at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob of course will soon take one more step that will put him squarely in league with global warming denies:.

      Dismiss the mountain of evidence that is contrary to the pleasing tale he wants to tell his rubes as "biased" and "skewed."

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    2. If women are discriminated against by occupation, then that is not discrimination by pay. "Equal pay for equal work" is only one part of the pay gap. There is also "equal work opportunity for equal education" and "equal work opportunity for equal experience" and "equal opportunity for education"

      So I think Bob is largely correct to "howl" about the lack of context which often accompanies the figure.

      On the other hand, there is the implicit assumption that at the same job that the more highly-educated male worker should make more than the less-highly educated female. But should we not then expect there to be some other factor which makes the female worker suitable for the position despite her relative lack of education? If the female worker gets paid only 5-12 cents less than her male counterpart when controlling for education, occupation, experience, etc., she may still be getting underpaid by 50 cents.

      Put another way, you might think that both workers in the same job would be qualified for the job they have and are equally productive even if one is more highly educated, more experienced, etc. So why should they be paid differently? Should my PhD qualify me for higher pay flipping burgers when compared to high-schoolers who also flip burgers?

      So when Somerby says "That 77 cent statistic isn’t a measure of discrimination." I believe he is largely correct. But when he says "But McDonough cited large gaps in pay in various occupations—and her data almost surely don’t reflect what women get paid for the same or equal work." I'm not as sure as he is. Imperfect measure? Yes. But not necessarily misleading, either.

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    3. One of the factors affecting pay of women compared to men in the same occupation is how assertive they are in requesting raises, skill at bargaining for more pay. Studies suggest that women are not as assertive. Last month there was a story circulating in academia about a woman who attempted to negotiate higher pay (after receiving a job offer) only to have the offer rescinded entirely, with no effort to negotiate by the university. This illustrate the problem that when women adopt strategies that are effective for men, they are punished and the reaction is negative, when a man might be regarded positively for the same behavior. This damed if you do and damned if you don't bind is part of the wider picture of discrimination faced by women in the workplace.

      Why should Somerby or other men discussing this issue be permitted to frame the terms of discussion to suit themselves, instead of considering the wider problems that produce that 73 cent gap when you look across all occupations? It seems pretty self-serving for people who are not in the affected category to be defining the terms of debate.

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    4. I don't think Somerby means to narrow the debate, but rather demands that the figures be put in context.

      Attributing the entire 23-cent gap to employer discrimination is a problem. That lets everyone else off the hook!

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    5. If Somerby wants figures put in context, why is he only linking to the one AAUW study he thinks fits his narrative among many studies the AAUW has done that contradict him?


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  2. Somerby says:

    "That said, no one claims that the shortfall is as large as 23 cents on the dollar. No one claims that women get paid 77 percent as much “for the same or equal work.”

    You may hear President Obama imply that women get shortchanged that much. He’s trying to fire the rubes."

    Women DO get shortchanged that much -- 23 cents on the dollar. They are shortchanged because they do not have the same opportunity to participate in higher paying occupations.

    They are further shortchanged because the work they do is not respected, not valued, not acknowledged by our society. They are shortchanged because they must often support children as the head of a household without the same earning ability. They are shortchanged because their retirement pay will be less because they were unable to earn as much during their work lives. They are shortchanged because when they try to remedy this problem, they are called names and labeled (victim is one current defamatory name), discussion is subverted for other purposes, coopted for political gain, or just doesn't happen at all.

    Somerby implies that women are not being shortchanged because there is demagoguery about their problems in the ramp up to this midterm election. He is WRONG. I get it that he does not want to discuss how women are shortchanged, because his focus is on the media. I do that believe it is OK to create a misimpression that women are now being treated fairly in the workplace, solely because there has been improvement or a few people are misusing one of the statistics used to talk about this issue. The stats should be used accurately, but the issue is important and it matters -- and it should matter in the comments of this blog, where over 50% of unique daily readers are female.

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  3. Somerby says:

    "He should observe the distinction between (1) the earning gap which does exist between men and women, on average, and (2) the percentage of the income gap which results from discrimination or unequal treatment."

    ALL of the difference (beyond random variability) results from discrimination or unequal treatment. There are no differences in ability or intelligence between men and women. ALL of the differences in pay result from social factors. There are sex differences between men and women, mostly related to reproduction. There are no major sex differences in the abilities most relevant to work, and further, the differences within male and female distributions are much greater than any mean differences across the sexes. That means there is no justification for excluding women from higher paying occupations as our society has done. That exclusion is the result of discrimination and social differences in how male and female children and young adults are treated in our society, including the colors they are assigned to wear as infants, the toys they are given as toddlers, the language used to talk to them, the risks they are encouraged to take or protected from as children, the sports they play, the encouragement they receive in school, the sex-segregated interests and pursuits they are permitted to join and the college programs they are accepted to as young adults. ALL of this is discriminatory as surely as the man who says that he thinks a male candidate is better than a female because his resume (identical to hers) is somehow better.

    Thinking that the only discrimination that matters is the overt discrimination embodied by that 5-8% that can be isolated after excluding all other explanations is wrong, wrong, wrong.

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    1. I think this criticism is perhaps fair, though I'm not prepared to go quite so far.

      I especially agree that "Thinking that the only discrimination that matters is the overt discrimination embodied by that 5-8% that can be isolated after excluding all other explanations is wrong, wrong, wrong."

      However, my read of Somerby's statement is that he is interested in the narrower question of "discrimination or unequal treatment by employers toward their employees." Perhaps generous on my part, but that's my take.

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    2. "discrimination or unequal treatment by employers" by paying women employees less.

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    3. Anon, I'm not sure what your point is. We don't know that employers discriminate against women to the tune of 23 cents on the dollar, and "unequal pay for equal job" is not the only form of discrimination in which employers may engage.

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  4. Nothing to see here, folks: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/frazier-glenn-miller-marionville-dan-clevenger

    A challenge to TDH commenters: Demonstrate how quickly Bob would turn this into a stick with which to beat Rachel, Matthews, and/or Melissa. Your prize? Fun and satisfaction.

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    1. It makes me so mad when BOB criticizes Rachel, Chris and Melissa. It's just not fair!

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    2. I agree, plus, as KZ points out, he uses modifiers while doing so. Making things doubly worse.

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    3. You win the prize!

      First butthurt Maddow fan to whine their darling favorite receiving criticism.

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    4. There's plenty of legitimate criticism of Maddow, including her lack of preparation for the nonsensical attacks on Susan Rice, her buddy-buddy relationship with pro-Wall Street Democrat Corey Booker, and her elitist choice of subject matter that won't get into the weeds of things like legitimate interpretation of education statistics.

      But this isn't it. This is just stupid. The only solid data we have with a timeline are the Department of Labor studies that produced the 77% figure. They also produce the discrepancies in specific occupations that are usually found in the DoL surveys -- some much less than 77%, some close to being equal, some more than 77%. But those data for specific occupational categories are the closest we can come to an answer with standardized, recurring data. It is virtually impossible to have genuine "equal work" studies that can be used in political discourse and isn't about as anecdotal as the Lily Ledbetter example..

      That's why there is absolutely nothing wrong or deceptive about Obama or anyone else using it exactly the way they have been. Nobody -- not Obama and not Maddow -- are trying to claim it is more than an aggregate figure that provides a general way to think about the issue. That statistic -- whatever it is for the latest year -- has been used for many, many years by Democrats without more than token objection by conservatives. This year they decided to try to make it an issue and it gained some traction, probably because some from the supposed "left," for purposes of advancing their own scripts, joined the conservative attack. When someone like Glenn Kessler sees that -- wow, "bipartisan" criticism of the President -- it's like raw meat.

      What would you do differently if, say, actual pay discrimination between the sexes for the same work were, on average, only 93%, but there were greater differences overall -- OK, let's say not 77% but 87% -- due largely to historic discrimination in opportunity? Nothing. There still would be roughly half the working age women who made more than 7% less than men for equal work, and the legislation proposed to address it would be no different..

      The 77% statistic serves no other purpose than to support an argument that significant gender discrimination, whether actual pay discrimination or opportunity discrimination, still exists in the workplace. That's why anyone who spends more than 30 seconds thinking about this knows immediately that it is an aggregate figure reflecting many factors. In other words, nobody is deceived. Somerby and his gaggle of simpletons who defend him no matter what simply do not understand the concept of deception. For a representation to be deceptive, the recipient must take an action to his or her detriment in reasonable reliance on the false or misleading statement.To say it is deceptive to use it as a simple and straightforward illustration of the general extent of a problem is just stupid. Of course, the stupidity here continues out of sheer stubbornness, and in cases like this that is not a feature, it's a bug. A bug up the ass.

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    5. If anyone is interested in an object lesson in what it means to be a troll, contrast urban legend's well-though-out, cogent critique of Somerby with KZ's nonsensical, snarky, self-satisfied spew below, which only serves to muddy the waters on this blog and undermine the quality of discourse in the comments section. So KZ, if you have something to say, why don't you take a lesson from urban legend, man up, and say in a clear, straightforward way, and spare the rest of us having to translate your cutesy private language.

      If you are not getting paid to troll this blog, then you are a real sucker. The thought of someone spending this much of their own time and effort trying to rat fu¢k a relatively obscure blog like this is just pathetic.

      Delete
    6. The thought that almost all your contributions to the comment box are attacks upon KZ is interesting. The repeated admission that you don't understand KZ's writing is amusing. That makes you a befuddled troll of a pathetic troll on a relatively obscure blog.

      Delete
  5. OMB ( Bone Simple Versus Bone Stupid)

    We are happy this issue gives BOB a boner. Two sexually tinged subheads on the topic in a week.

    Let's roll thought BOB's professed state of multipart confusion in this particular post.



    "How much less do women get paid for the same or equal work?" 4/8

    "On the Chris Hayes program, Guests Gone Wild!" 4/10

    THE 77 PERCENT CONFUSION: A famous statistic! Part 1 4/14

    THE 77 PERCENT CONFUSION: It’s a real statistic! Part 2 4/15

    THE 77 PERCENT CONFUSION: Observing a basic bone-simple distinction! Interlude 4/16

    THE 77 PERCENT CONFUSION: Are those figures “adjusted for relevant factors?” Part 3 4/17

    BS vs BS: Prelude

    "Part 3" sez BOB. But is it? Could it be Part 4. Or even Part 6?
    Trying to figure this out could almost kill a person.

    No wonder BOB is confused about statistics. The poor fellow has an odd method of counting the parts to his series on a given topic. Here are the pieces on this topic in the last ten days alone. Dare we ventuire a guess why BOB is trying to kkep his numbers low? We could. But would speculation about trying to avoid charges of beating a dead horse add anything to the conversation? We will explore that later, in the interim.

    KZ

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  6. I agree KZ. The numbering of the posts is problematic and troubling. Thank you for taking the time to illuminate this for baneful blogger and his beleaguered brethren.

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    1. Yes. We spent as much time on it as he spent on Maddow saying page 17 instead of Page 117 in reference toi the Mastro report. We just did not reach a conclusion from our speculation. Nor did we note you thanking BOB at the time.
      Please do so now. It will boost his beleaguered blogger bulb.

      KZ

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    2. I agree with KZ and the previous commenter. If you haven't read KZ's original post, read it. If you have read it, read it again. These are very, very important factors to consider.

      It's like that line from Sunshine of Your Love:

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    3. I choked on a Cloret and dang near died when I read KZ's take down of Bob and his troubling numbering system. This is important stuff.

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    4. It was a legitimate attempt at a real numbering system, only badly bungled.

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    5. Even if it was not legitimate it could have been a good faith effort and therefore any discussion which does not walk us through all the steps Bob took to number his series is misleading.

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  7. OMB ( Bone Simple Versus Bone Stupid)

    BS vs BS

    Part Paragraph 1

    "According to one familiar statistic, American women earn, on average, only 77 percent as much as men."

    BOB may be referring to a commonly cited statistic from the US Census Bureau. Or he may not be. The 77% figure does show up in data regarding the median income of full time civilian workers age 16 and over by sex. That is not, however, the average income of adult men and women in the US. We are sure, if we did further research, the income gap among men and women would be greater among all working men and women and certainly among all men and women.


    KZ

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  8. OMB (Bone Simple Versus Bone Stupid)

    BS vs BS

    Part Paragraphs 2-4

    "This statistic may well represent a real societal problem. But no one who actually works in this field claims that this is a measure of how much women get paid, as compared to men, for doing the same work.

    That said, partisans constantly make that claim. When they do, we the liberal rubes get conned, just as our conservative brethren get conned when they watch Sean on Fox.

    How much less do women get paid for doing the same or equal work? It isn’t easy to answer that question."

    We are glad to find that the fact that women who work full time earn only 77% of what men earn might not represent a real societal problem. It is also possible, we suppose, according to BOB, that this represents an "unreal" societal problem as well, but who is counting when you count with BOB?

    We are troubled that in the second paragraph of this section BOB does not name names nor does he say which claim they are making. Are they making the claim that the 77% may represent a real societal problem, as does BOB, or are they making the second claim, that the 77% is the compensation women get for work equal to men?
    BOB is fuzzy here.

    We are gratified to find out the real answer to the question is hard to find because, since it might not represent a real problem, we needn't
    worry our pretty or ugly little heads about it.

    KZ

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    1. Your last paragraph misses the point completely. Playing fast and loose with statistics is just not a clever strategy, as when Maddow got blindsided and humbled by a 3rd-string,rightwing scrub pundit on Sunday morning network television. Honesty IS the best policy.

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    2. The fact that you think Castellanos "humbled" Maddow says more about where you are coming from than about the actual exchange.

      Bit of Howler history. Maddow once hosted Sen. James Inhofe who was on a book tour of a tome written against global warming.

      Maddow cited chapter and page, asking Inhofe to defend the things he had written. Inhofe finally exclaimed, "I don't remember everything in the book."

      It became clear that the book was ghost-written and Inhofe hadn't bothered to read it.

      The next day, Somerby was on his blog proclaiming how Inhofe demolished the "ill-prepared" Maddow, and woe are "we liberals" for having such clowns on TV.

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    3. Liberals just don't get it. When you're amongst yourselves any number will fly if it makes you feel good. The problem is not everyone is part of your club and they're going to hold you to a higher standard. You know the number is being inaccurately portrayed. Why mislead?

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  9. "The editors report that another study—a study by the AAUW—shows that “college-educated women earn less than their male counterparts” even after adjusting for relevant factors. But they fail to report how large that adjusted wage gap is! This seems to be the report in question. It says the gap is 7 cents after controlling for relevant factors."

    Not quite, Bob. The AAUW study you linked to doesn't measure the entire earnings of all college graduates.

    It only studied the comparative earnings of men and women ONE YEAR AFTER COLLEGE GRADUATION, and found that women start their careers at 7 percent less than men, AND the gap grows wider with time.

    So no, Bob, you are deliberately misleading your rubes once again.

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    1. Forgive me, Anon, I'm having trouble finding that bit in the study about the gap growing wider with time. Care to quote or cite a page number/figure/something?

      Thanks.

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    2. That's because Bob, in his typical lazy ass way, googled up and used the first AAUW study he saw, the one that only looked at pay rates immediately after college to counter the "it's about educational choices argument, and he even got that wrong.

      Try their latest report:

      http://www.aauw.org/resource/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

      I am also sure, careful reader that you are, that the 7 percent gap cited in the 2012 study was the gap that COULD NOT BE EXPLAINED AWAY by fact that women college graduates gravitate to lower wage careers such as teaching and social work.

      The total gap between first-year college graduates was 82 percent.

      By the way, Viscid, I know how curious you are about this and how anxious you are to do independent research.

      Let me give you a tip. There is this search engine called Google. If you type in the words "AAUW wage gap studies" it will turn up all sorts of studies they have done over the years.

      Try it, you'll like it.

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    3. Anon, you made a claim about the study Somerby linked to. You wrote that the study he linked to made specific claims. Why, once I opened the relevant study you mentioned, would I go looking at a different study in order to verify what you said? My presumption was that I failed to notice something in the report. Now, I presume your claim is false-- that the relevant study does not actually say that.

      Yes, I understand the regressions. I also understand that women may gravitate to lower wage careers for all kinds of reasons… including discrimination. I also understand that the statistics mentioned in the study at the link you provide (7 percent at one year, 12 at ten) does not necessarily imply that the unexplained portion (or, rather, the portion "explained" by gender) grows wider with time. These are point estimates, and they do not report the standard errors, so I'm not sure that their 12 is actually larger than their 7 in a statistically significant sense (though it's more likely an increase than a decrease.)

      But really, I have no idea why you felt the need to get snippy with me.

      Cheers.

      Delete
    4. Viscid, you have a case of Somerby linking to one study which he thinks proves his point, while misleading you about the nature of that study.

      Then you also have the added insult to your intelligence of Bob ignoring recent and previous studies done by the AAUW that directly contradict the point he is making.

      It's one thing to take Somerby's word as Gospel and being too damned lazy to do your own research to see if what he says holds up.

      It's quite another thing to dismiss evidence when it is shown to you.

      Here's what the most recent AAUW found that Bob won't tell you.

      Among all recent college graduates, the gap between the first-year pay of men and women is 18 percent. When you account for occupational differences, the first-year gap is still 7 percent.

      Yet somehow, Somerby forgot to tell you that the study measured only first year pay, and also forgetting to tell you previous AAUW studies showing that the gap widens over years, even accounting for all the factors he still claims are seldom accounted for.

      Also, please don't say that the AAUW studies claim that the remaing pay gap is "unexplained." They are only "unexplained" by the arguments consistently heard to minimize out right gender discrimination.

      "I'm not sure that their 12 is actually larger than their 7 in a statistically significant sense" Wow!

      Delete
    5. Sorry, Anon. I have no idea why you think I "take Somerby's word as gospel" given my other comments around here. There is stuff he writes I agree with, and there is stuff he writes I disagree with.

      Yes, I am too lazy argue on behalf of someone who makes a claim that I have every reason to doubt. You made a claim about one specific study, and when I asked you for details you cited a different study. I'm sorry, but that is not going to fly.

      As to the reports, yes I agree with you that it would have been better to mention that these were recent grads in the "7 percent" study. But you totally jump the gun by insisting the studies show the gap widens.

      Here is one reason to be careful: The "12 percent" figure looks at 2003 employment, and the "7 percent" figure looks at 2009 employment. Is that not a 5 percentage point drop over six years? How do you know the apparent difference is due to years since leaving college, as opposed to a "narrowing" pay gap over time?

      If you read my previous comment, you'll note I actually clarified my language explicitly "or, rather, the portion 'explained' by gender" (that is, while controlling for other things which may also be explained by gender.) And I used scare quotes because "gender" is a bizarre explanation for a difference in pay. It's effectively a catch-all for other stuff associated with gender (like… discrimination) and thus it is UNexplained unless you're going to interpret as saying women just earn less than men and that's the way it is. Now, I am sure that's not what you mean to say.

      Finally, just in case you are "too lazy" to look at other comments I have made, all forms of gender discrimination may account for more than 23 cents on the dollar. I think it is better to not control for certain things like age and education and stick with years of experience and job description, etc because I don't think that a 50-year-old man with a PhD is more productive at flipping burgers than a 16-year-old woman with some high school experience. I think it should raise eyebrows if the 50-year-old getting paid vastly more than the 16-year-old simply because he's older and better educated.

      I think there should be equal pay for equal work, and as "work" is hard to measure, we should at least start with equal pay for equal job. Meanwhile, we should address other forms of discrimination-- some of which result in unequal pay in the broader sense.

      But that doesn't mean we should pretend that "77 cents on the dollar" is terribly meaningful when it comes to "equal pay for equal work" because that's not where that figure comes from. There will probably be a sizeable pay gap even if women received "equal pay for equal work." Here I agree with Somerby.

      Heidi Hartmann's numbers (Table 3 of the linked report) on the other hand, are relevant if imperfect. Here, I disagree with Somerby.

      Delete

  10. OMB (Bone Simple Versus Bone Stupid)

    BS vs BS

    Part Heraclitus

    BOB picks his philosophers well:

    "How much less do women get paid for doing the same or equal work? It isn’t easy to answer that question.

    It’s a little bit like Heraclitus’ river. You’ll never see that important question answered the same way twice!"

    Consider dipping your intellectual tootsies in the river of BOB rhetoric just in this one post:

    First Dip

    "But no one who actually works in this field claims that this is a measure of how much women get paid, as compared to men, for doing the same work.

    That said, partisans constantly make that claim."

    Second Dip

    That said, no one claims that the shortfall is as large as 23 cents on the dollar. No one claims that women get paid 77 percent as much “for the same or equal work.”

    Third Dip

    "You may hear President Obama imply that women get shortchanged that much. ...You may hear Rachel Maddow imply that."

    Fourth Dip

    "Repeat: No expert claims that women only get paid 77 percent as much for doing the same work."

    Fifth Dip

    "Katie McDonough correctly wrote that “the pay gap is real...women do get paid less than men for doing the same work as their male peers.”"

    Sixth Dip

    "Instead, the proselytizers often take over when this topic gets discussed. As they teach you what to think about the wage gap, they may routinely fail...They may report... they may pretend or suggest that they’re reporting the difference in pay “for the same or equal work.”

    We wonder if Heraclitus made his observation after stepping into the flow of a stream of bullshit.

    Nobody working in bullshit says he did. Some constantly claim he did. Nobody claims he did. Some imply he did. Another correctly says he did. No experts says he did. Preachers may teach you he may have.

    And so it flows.

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
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