The Grand Gender Convergence

The American Economic Review was sitting in my mailbox this morning. Yes, I do realize I’m pretty much the last economist on earth to still receive hard copy journals, but don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Claudia Goldin writes the lead article from the April issue. It’s titled A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter. The abstract is below.

The converging roles of men and women are among the grandest advances in society and the economy in the last century. These aspects of the grand gender convergence are figurative chapters in a history of gender roles. But what must the “last” chapter contain for there to be equality in the labor market? The answer may come as a surprise. The solution does not (necessarily) have to involve government intervention and it need not make men more responsible in the home (although that wouldn’t hurt). But it must involve changes in the labor market, in particular how jobs are structured and remunerated to enhance temporal flexibility. The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might vanish altogether if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who labored long hours and worked particular hours. Such change has taken off in various sectors, such as technology, science and health, but is less apparent in the corporate, financial and legal worlds.

Given the nature of the debate over the past few months on equal pay legislation and other forms of labor market discrimination against women, and more importantly against individuals that don’t conform to the two-gender paradigm, to claim that the gender convergence is in its last chapter seems a little short-sighted. But she’s a historian and a very smart economic historian at that, having written a book, Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women, which I recommend frequently to economics majors interested in labor and gender. The article is essentially an extension of the book’s arguments, this time concentrating on occupational differences.

It’s a good read and would be great for students. In fact, perhaps I’ll have mine read it this week. Look out for their tweets!


A good read on the gender wage gap

I’m in London this week for a conference and had a very funny discussion at breakfast about blogging and the public element of putting one’s life on the internet. It reminded me that I haven’t been reading many blogs lately (or writing for that matter, sorry, I do still love you all), and prompted me to go visit a few of them after getting back from dinner this evening.

The particular blog I was discussing this morning was Chris Blattman’s, and I was pleased to find his post today included a link to Jordan Weissman’s “Why are women paid less?” at the Atlantic. Being on UK time, I missed the debate last night, but feel I’m getting caught up a bit with help from the above and other, very helpful, very serious news sources.

Equal Pay Day

The end of the semester is starting to kick my butt, so posting here might be a bit light in the next couple of weeks. On May 2, I’ll be in San Francisco for the PAAs. If anyone else is going, I’d love to meet up and chat.

Today is tax day, and I was super confused why until Matt Yglesias explained it for me. I was a bit stressed about filing my local tax return on time yesterday (which, I don’t even really understand. Why can’t the state just collect it and distribute? Commonwealths, I don’t get it. Whatever.). It’s unclear to me whether it would have been late had I sent it today, but I guess better not to know, right?

As well as tax day, by coincidence, today is Equal Pay Day. As you might guess, it’s something I can get behind. So I’ve collected some links about Equal Pay. I totally had just planned to slap them up here, but (see above) I can’t even put up a link list without pontificating on something.

  1. Me, last week, on proposed language for new work law in Venezuela, as presented by a consortium of women’s groups.
  2. Text of Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act of 2009 (pdf)
  3. Mitt Romney and advisers refusing to say whether he’d support Lily Ledbetter Act
  4. Tweets on #EqualPayDay and #fairpay
  5. Stevenson and Wolfers on the subsidies for the rich that are written into the tax code, a class issue, but Betsy has also been vocal about how it subsidizes one-earner, two-parent families, essentially penalizing women who work. (if you didn’t see her on Up with Chris Hayes this weekend, check it out, she’s kind of a rockstar. Like a nerdy rockstar economist, but you know what I mean).
  6. Gender wage gaps by state from the National Women’s Law Center (h/t @Fem2pt0)
  7. Some facts from the National Committee on Pay Equity
  8. Colbert on the War on Women, Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Act, and Glen Grothman
  9. Clara Jeffrey and Monika Bauerlain of Mother Jones on women in journalism. Part of a bigger discussion within journalism about women writers. Not going to close the pay gap if women aren’t writing the big stories, too. (Me, earlier, on distribution of women writers/editors/reviewers in big magazines)
  10. Raise the minimum wage, from Bloomberg (h/t @price_laborecon 10 & 11)
  11. How to end the gender pay gap in seven steps, awesome post on The Nation from Bryce Covert
  12. Feministing has a good list as well. I’ll let you look at them yourself rather than repost them all.
  13. And because no discussion of feminism, apparently, is complete without a reference to a Ryan Gosling meme, here’s a nod to the same. (h/t @ridahb)
  14. Last, but not least, the Department of Labor’s Equal Pay Day release.

I’m sure more will come up during the day, so I’ll update, and feel free to send good ones my way. If by some chance you haven’t dressed yet, AFSCME says wear red to stand up for equal pay.

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