Sunday, August 30, 2015

Randal Olson Takes A Close Look At The Wage Gap

Randal Olson, whose work I have previously admired, is back today (h/t Christina Hoff Sommers) with a look at the wage gap between the sexes, and in particular, how this is affected by college majors. Starting with a FiveThirtyEight post about remuneration for college majors, he then proceeds to dig through major-specific data (for a change, emboldening is all his):

The trend that’s immediately apparent from this chart is that female-dominated majors make less on average than male-dominated majors. Some interesting exceptions to the trend are Nursing (90% women; $48k median earnings) and Transportation Science (12% women; $35k median earnings), where Nursing especially stands out as a relatively lucrative major despite being primarily women.
 Unsurprisingly, after controlling for un- and under-employment, he looks at quantitative SAT scores and finds a strong correlation between that and earnings, i.e. the kinds of jobs that require analytical skills and compensation to match. His takeaways:
  • Female-dominated majors tend to earn less than male-dominated majors
  • This correlation isn’t explained by the employability of the majors
  • It seems plausible that male-dominated majors are usually paid more because they are more quantitative in nature, which large companies tend to value highly
At least when dealing with the opposite sex, men have a strong incentive to find gainful, and in particular, remunerative employment: 78% of women in a recent Pew poll said they want a man with "a steady job", which was more than any other aspect desired in a potential mate by either sex. If feminism has shaped a new model woman exactly like men in every way, she has not manifested herself in the broad population as yet.

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