The Disappearing Gender Pay Gap

Monday, April 16, 2007

While politically correct, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) are statistically incorrect [letters, April 8]. Two quite different statistical techniques -- sample matching and analysis of covariance -- have both revealed as an urban myth the statement that women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

What Mr. Kennedy, Ms. Maloney and the National Organization for Women overlook is the reality that men and women differ from one another not only in mean and median total income but also in number of hours worked per week, danger and travel requirements of their jobs, years of education, years in the field, and many other characteristics. The more pay-relevant job characteristics that are entered into the analysis of covariance, the smaller the purported pay gap becomes until it vanishes.



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