Knit Me A Sweater, Bake Me A Pie, Give Me A Raise

I'm still trying to figure out what to make of this recent study:

Men with egalitarian attitudes about the role of women in society earn significantly less on average than men who hold more traditional views about women's place in the world, according to a study being reported today.

It is the first time social scientists have produced evidence that large numbers of men might be victims of gender-related income disparities. The study raises the provocative possibility that a substantial part of the widely discussed gap in income between men and women who do the same work is really a gap between men with a traditional outlook and everyone else.

The differences found in the study were substantial. Men with traditional attitudes about gender roles earned $11,930 more a year than men with egalitarian views and $14,404 more than women with traditional attitudes. The comparisons were based on men and women working in the same kinds of jobs with the same levels of education and putting in the same number of hours per week.

Although men with a traditional outlook earned the most, women with a traditional outlook earned the least. The wage gap between working men and women with a traditional attitude was more than 10 times as large as the gap between men and women with egalitarian views. [...]

Livingston and Judge, who are organizational psychologists at the University of Florida, compared people's incomes over time to their evolving views on whether a woman's place is in the home and whether it is better for men to be the only breadwinners. People who endorsed distinct roles in society for men and women were considered to have traditional views, while those who advocated equal roles for men and women at home and in the workplace were classified as having egalitarian views.

The study offers an unusual window into the gender disparities in income that have been observed for decades. Critics of the gender-gap theory regularly suggest that the disparity is an artifact of the career choices that men and women make or the different hours that men and women work.

The critics argue that more men choose higher-paying professions such as law and business and more women choose lower-paying professions such as education and social work, and that men tend to work longer hours. Researchers said all the conclusions in the new study were based on comparisons between people in similar jobs, working similar hours, with similar qualifications.

Their explanation?

The empirical evidence in the study showed a connection between people's attitudes about gender roles and their salaries. It was not designed to explain why those disparities come about or how people's attitudes -- supposedly a private matter -- affect how much money they make.

Livingston and Judge said there are two possible explanations: Traditional-minded men might negotiate much harder for better salaries, especially when compared with traditional-minded women. Alternatively, it could also be that employers discriminate against women and men who do not subscribe to traditional gender roles.

"It could be that traditional men are hypercompetitive salary negotiators -- the Donald Trump prototype, perhaps," Judge said. "It could be on the employer side that, subconsciously, the men who are egalitarian are seen as effete."

Livingston, a doctoral candidate in management, added: "People make others uncomfortable when they disconfirm stereotypes -- we don't know how to interpret them."

Increasing numbers of Americans hold egalitarian views about the role of women in the workplace, and the researchers suggested that if attitudes about gender roles are indeed at the core of the long-standing wage gap, disparities in income might recede as egalitarian views become more prevalent.

Parents looking at the study might be tempted to inculcate their sons with traditional gender views with an eye to greater financial success, but the researchers warned that this would come at their daughters' cost -- traditional-minded women suffer the greatest income disadvantage for doing the same work.

I'm thinking this has something to do with how heterosexual couples share the burdens of childcare and other domestic responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. If egalitarian men and women agree that the burdens of childcare and homemaking should fall on both partners equally, then both of their careers may suffer as a result, with proportionally less time, energy and focus to spend on work.

Traditional gender roles obviously involve specialization and a division of labor of sorts, which may make these rigid roles more productive under some circumstances, but their greater efficiency does not necessarily make them just, fair, or wise. Under strict adherence to these roles, women are denied the freedom to pursue careers other than homemaking, and may have much less freedom to escape abusive relationships, and much less freedom within the relationship if they aren't "bringing home the bacon."

And as Steven Horwitz reminds us, traditional gender roles are not so "traditional" after all, but a fairly modern invention:

While in pre-industrial times women and men shared many of the tasks in the familial production unit, industrialization brought a (short-lived as it turned out) gendered division of labor where men occupied the public sphere of work and politics and women the private sphere of the home. A great deal of energy was spent during the Victorian era arguing that this division of labor was really a form of equality as men and women were assigned to their “separate spheres” in which they each excelled. The genders were not unequal, just “different.” By the turn of the twentieth century the male-breadwinner family was becoming the dominant form in the middle class and slowly spreading down the economic ladder.

Whatever the merits of this family form, two things were true: first, the wealth created by the market order had liberated women and children from the necessity of largely unpleasant work in industry; second, the form and functions of the family continued to evolve. This latter point is crucial because many today speak of the “traditional” family as if there had been one particular family form that had existed for centuries until the changes of the last 40 years. But even a cursory study of economic and social history indicates that the family’s form and functions have been undergoing significant changes at least since the earliest days of industrialization if not before. [...]

The women’s movement of the 1960s, then, was hardly the cause of the “decline” of the family, though it did accelerate the longer-term trends. For one thing, there has been no significant change in the growth in female labor-force participation. For another, the continuing changes in the family were much more the result of economic dynamism than anything else. As family historian Stephanie Coontz argues in The Way We Never Were, the women’s movement was much more likely the result of more women having already entered the workforce than the cause of more doing so. With women entering the previously male public sphere of the market, the inequities between men and women became more apparent, thus leading to the bubbling up of a movement for change. Despite the way in which conservatives often portray the women’s movement as rising in opposition to capitalism, it would be just as accurate to say that it arose because of the wealth and opportunities capitalism made possible. In this sense, the dynamism of the market order goes hand in hand with the dynamism of culture, and the women’s movement is yet another example of the ways in which capitalism has both freed individuals from the coercive power of the state and promoted social equality.

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How tightly did the study control for occupation? Perhaps there are male dominated professions that pay more on the whole and tend to attract men with a traditional outlook on domestic duties?

They claim to have

They claim to have controlled for occupation, though I have not read the study first hand and am not qualified to judge the quality of statistical controls.

The critics argue that more men choose higher-paying professions such as law and business and more women choose lower-paying professions such as education and social work, and that men tend to work longer hours. Researchers said all the conclusions in the new study were based on comparisons between people in similar jobs, working similar hours, with similar qualifications.

My first thought was whether

My first thought was whether they controlled for age. Older men earn much more than younger men, and they have more traditional views (um, by definition).

Also note that traditional men are $12k above egalitarian men, and $14k above traditional women. That's a $2k gap between egalitarian men and traditional women, pretty small, again consistent with the egalitarian men relatively young (since the gender gap is much lower among young people).

The reason why women chose

The reason why women chose lower paying jobs is because opportunities for high paying jobs are not made available to them. The banking and law profession are male dominated to begin with; to have successful women in these professions are rare and few in number. Those who conducted the experiments should have taken this into consideration.