In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Casey Mulligan points out that over the past half century the pay gap between women and men has shrunk more under Republican presidents than under Democratic ones. The following chart shows this. The data are from the Census Bureau.
Mulligan argues that the best way to achieve equal pay is therefore “to work for a labor market that creates opportunities for women like it did during the Reagan and the Bush years.” But as the next two charts indicate, the Republican advantage in closing the gender pay gap owes mainly to slow earnings growth for men during Republican administrations, rather than rapid earnings growth for women.
Clearly though, a huge part of the pay differential for women closing under Republican administrations had nothing to do with Republican policies or occurred in spite of them. The big thing is that the gains made in laws, attitudes, and morays during the 1960’s and 70’s were really maturing and reaping fruit in the 80s, when Republicans controlled the oval office for the entire decade. It was the 80s when women were really first starting in big numbers to go into higher paying professions like manager and doctor, as opposed to secretary and nurse, and started working full time much more as opposed to part time. These things had become largely accepted and encouraged by then.
If anything the shrinking of the pay differential between men and women happened in spite of Republican ideology which drove efforts to oppose government funding and aid in daycare and enforcement of equal opportunity laws, as well as many other things that are very harmful to women.
For anyone who thinks the pay gap closed in the 1980s because of Republican efforts rather than in spite of them I ask that you read this recent Washington Post article:
For equal pay for the same job and performance, advances clearly occurred in spite of Republican efforts, not due to them. However, it is true that Republican policies hurt the median male wage more than the median female wage. It is also true that their policies which were so devastating for families, and lead to our current unprecedented in modern times epidemic of personal financial distress, foreclosure, and bankruptcy, did force women to have to work far more hours whether they wanted to or not, and this certainly would help push up the female median earnings. I’m sure women, though, would prefer to work more hours because they want to, not because they need to for the family’s financial survival.
This is a fairly well-known phenomenon and I suspect Lane Kenworthy’s hypothesis is a good one, but it is interesting that it hasn’t really inspired much serious research one way or the other. Indeed, demographic variables don’t seem to attract very much interest on the part of folks interested in income distribution. For example, Heisz suggests that growing market income inequality in Canada is explained less by rising individual earnings inequality than by changed family earnings patterns — there are many more high paid highly-educated women out there, and that they are mainly living with high-paid men and there are a lot more low income women and men living in single-income households, both of these factors compound the inequality effect of the household earnings distribution. Makes sense, but to the best of my knowledge the effects haven’t been isolated or accurately measured. See http://www.statcan.ca/english/research/11F0019MIE/11F0019MIE2007298.pdf
Interesting article but, really doesn’t have any bearing on what actually happens in the world of men and women at work. Consider all of the highly educated women that are very succesful in the careers making over six figures within 4-5 years after college and then decide to have a baby, drop out of the work force for 5-10 years and then get back on the on-ramp. In my experience in hiring professionals in the work force and managing compensation, I didn’t see a difference in what men made vs. women, if you were a top performer you were paid more then if you were a good performer – end of story. If you don’t like what you are making go somewhere else and stop complaining.
Look up Equality ad womans equality bills over History. (Every Republican) in congress has voted no on all bills and ammendments referring to equality.
I worked in a company for 7 years. I had 10 years of experience a 4 year degree and 7 years later in 2008 I was finally making $40,000 a year. But the going rate for male employees with or without education or experience in the field, was $45,000 in 2001.
The facts are Woman continue to get paid less. The less you get paid, the less you recieve in percent increases each year, and less that goes to retirement.
I did file a claim for violation of the ADA and Civil Rights and EPA, but I agreed to mediation, rather than try to sue, I still cared about the success of the company and the other employees. (Not the Money) but the way the law was 120 days after the charge is filed, the company drug it out and said they were unavailable for the appointment until after the 120 days was up. Then the EEOC says technically we can’t process the claim further because the time limit has expired and then your faced with, take the severance package and see ya. If you don’t we’ll fire you tomorrow. We’ll look into those demands for policies that promote equality, HR training, practices that aren’t outright discrimminatory. But we’ll do an analysis of our own and decide wether we think thats in the best interest of the company.
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