Boots & Sabers

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2026, 07 Nov 15

Digging Into the Gender Gap

From The Economist.

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.

A paper published last year by Claudia Goldin, an economist at Harvard University, noted that the gender pay gap was especially acute in law and business, despite the fact that fresh graduates in those fields started at similar salaries. The problem, Ms Goldin notes, is that succeeding at such professions requires copious amounts of “face time”. On the other hand, pharmacists, for whom there is little penalty for working part-time, experience virtually no gender pay gap.

Another study by Ms Goldin and Lawrence Katz (also of Harvard) noted that being away from work for 18 months was associated with a 29% drop in earnings for mid-career lawyers and PhDs, and a 41% for MBAs. In effect, much of the gender pay gap can be thought of as the cost of having children.


2026, 07 November 2015


  1. scott

    Not sure I want to feel a “bern” of any kind in my crotchal region.

  2. Mark Maley

    Well, that settles it . Women make poor choices in paying jobs , then lounge around after pregnancy so there’s actual no gap whatsoever between men and women .

    It’s all good .

    Women everywhere , you have your answer .

    There is no actual pay gap . Just poor decisions on your part .

  3. scott

    There’s a hell of a lot more evidence for the gender pay gap than there ever was for voter impersonation, yet we have an ID requirement. Can’t we have an equal pay law? If there’s no gap, no problem. If there is, at least someone has recourse.

  4. scott

    Yes it is illegal. But it’s so hard to successfully sue under existing law that the Paycheck Fairness Act (or something like it) is needed. The pay gap is the same as it ever was, so … the existing law isn’t working too well, I’d say.

  5. Owen

    No, the pay gap, as it exists, does not continue to exist because the existing law is too difficult to use. It continues to exist because its causes are far more complex than passing a simple law can address. Not every perceived injustice in society can be remedied by the passage of a law.

  6. Mark Maley

    Well then that’ it . It’s complex.

    I bet it’s not complex to women in the workplace .it’s just the way it is and always has been .

    Gosh, why is there a gender gap ?
    Show them the studies and I’m sure they will feel better about it.

  7. scott

    Yeah I’m not so sure it’s all that complex. Pay equitably or get sued. That’s pretty simple.

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