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Gender pay gap exaggerated


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To paraphrase the line often attributed to Mark Twain, there are lies, damn lies and the "equal pay" statistic. Drawn from Census Bureau data, the 77-cent figure is a comparison of the earnings of women working full time compared with men working full time. Its fatal flaw is that it accounts for none of the important factors that play into the disparity, such as hours worked. Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute note that men are twice as likely to work more than 40 hours per week as women. Then there are differences in choice of occupation, in education and in uninterrupted years of work. Once such factors are taken into account, there is about a 5 percent differential in the earnings of women and men, about which various theories are plausible, including the effect of residual discrimination. What is clear is that the wage gap is largely an artifact of the fact that women devote more time to caring for children than men do.

Rich Lowry, Politico magazine