There really is no gender pay gap


As we've been saying for some time now, there really is no gender pay gap. At least, not one of any size that anyone should be bothering to do anything about. It's a motherhood pay gap, most certainly, but then that's just not the same as gender is it? This latest empirical report comes from the US:

A new report from PayScale, a jobs website, takes a stab at this very problem by looking at the gender gap in various occupations controlling for factors including experience, education, company size, and crucially, job title. According to their data, female doctors make 29.2% less than their male counterparts, but that gap shrinks to just 4.6% after introducing the controls. This in part because women are more likely to work in paediatrics, while men are more likely to work in the better-paid field of surgery. A similar pattern exists for lawyers: women make 14.8% less than men, but just 4.1% less on an adjusted basis. Again, there are differences in the types of jobs taken by men and women: 8.7% of female lawyers work for non-profit outfits, compared to just 4.5% for male ones. The pay gap for all workers is 25.6% before such differences are controlled for, and 2.7% afterwards.

We think 2.7% is pretty much the end of the story. And certainly we cannot think of any government work that's ever managed to be any more accurate than that.

In effect, much of the gender pay gap can be thought of as the cost of having children.

Quite: fathers make more than non-fathers among men, mothers make less than non-mothers among women. Whether that's a cultural or an innate feature is another matter: but that's where whatever remaining problem is. And it's not entirely obvious that it's something that's amenable to anything other than the slow change of cultural practices, whichever of those two causes are responsible.