Mark Perry of AEI thinks that ‘Equal Pay Day’ amounts to a false equivalency.
Equal Pay Day is based on the assumption that women earned 23% less on average than men last year, so they must work an additional three months, one week, and one day this year to make up for the “wage gap.”
But comparing average wages by gender is statistically meaningless because that comparison violates the most basic statistical principle that you can only compare two groups if you “hold everything else constant.” In the case of comparing wages by gender, you have to control for all of the other relevant variables that affect income: hours worked, education, years of continuous work experience without interruption, marital status, number of children, age, industry, workplace conditions, and occupational risk of death or injury, etc. To say that women on average make 23% less than men without controlling for any variable except gender is statistically meaningless, i.e. it’s an “apples to oranges” comparison…
For example, a labor market study in 2010 actually found statistical evidence of a reverse gender pay gap in favor of women. That’s right. James Chung of Reach Advisors spent more than a year analyzing wage data from the Census Bureau and found that in America’s largest cities, single, childless women under the age of 30 earned 8% more on average than their male counterparts… In some cities like Atlanta, the wage premium in favor of women was as high as 21%.
So what’s the takeaway of this data? It’s time for men to catch up. Perry remarks that it may be time for young men to recognize their own ‘Equal Pay Day.’ Clearly, being a ‘good ‘ol boy’ no longer means you will automatically be a Don Draper. And that makes me smile.