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What causes the gender pay gap?

"It is often assumed that the gender pay gap is best explained by discrimination, but there are
instances where this simply cannot be the cas
e," says Alex Tabarrok.

A forthcoming study by Valentin Bolotnyy and Natalia Emanuel in the Journal of Labor Economics shows that gender earnings gaps can exist even in environments where work tasks are similar, wages identical, and tenure dictates promotions.

In the setting examined by the researchers, an 11% earnings gap remained, explained by female workers taking on less overtime and taking more unpaid time off.

One might still blame "systemic sexism"- presumably, the women took more time off to care for their families. But if so, is sexism hurting the women, who earn less, or the men who spend less time with their families? Interestingly, similar results were found in a study of Uber drivers.

Men made more, not because of employer discrimination, which wasn't even possible in this context, but because, on average, there are small differences in how men and women drive.



Kris Paterson is a writer for

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