What causes the gender pay gap?

Share this article

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

Similar Articles

Don't Miss

Navy Will Cut 500 Civilian East Coast Jobs

To fulfil Navy Region Mid-Fiscal Atlantic's Year 2022 budget objective, 500 Navy civilian employees on the East Coast will be laid off, and port activities would be limited to daylight Monday through Friday.

Fed signals bond-buying taper may start soon

As the US central bank's shift away from economic crisis measures gets traction, the Federal Reserve indicated on Wednesday that it will likely begin cutting its monthly bond purchases as soon as November, and that interest rate hikes may come sooner than planned.

Should staff return to the office?

For example, it may persist with current Covid-19 precautions in the workplace, requiring employers to plan for social distancing and to provide extra hygiene facilities. There may also be special arrangements in place for Vulnerable workers, such as pregnant women and those who have been shielding during the crisis