Monday, 25 April 2016

Gender pay gap: problem has sorted itself out.

It is well know that there is no real gender pay gap (except at the very top).

It is - indisputably - a "mothers vs everyone else" pay gap, women take an average pay cut of about 10% for each child/year missed to maternity leave for each of the first three children (it flattens off after that). I mentioned some research a few years ago that said that fathers tended to earn more than childless men, so as long as couples with children pool income and expenses, it all comes out in the wash.

More evidence of this from the BBC today:

Full-time working fathers out-earn their childless counterparts by more than a fifth, research suggests.

On average, fathers working full time get a 21% "wage bonus", the study based on 17,000 workers aged 42, concluded. Fathers living in Britain with two children earned 9% more than those with just one, says the research by centre-left think tank IPPR for the TUC. Full-time working mothers of the same age saw a "wage penalty", earning 11% less than their childless colleagues.

The report said the reasons for the "fatherhood bonus" were not clear, though they were likely to relate to hours worked, increased effort and positive discrimination.

The last bit is the interesting bit:
- Do men pull their socks up when they have kids and try to earn a bit more,
- Are the qualities which make men likely to get married and have kids the same sort of qualities which employers look for (boring, reliable etc), or
- Do women simply prefer getting married to and having children with men who earn more (self-selection)?

We don't know, but facts is facts, and the fact is that overall, working couples with children probably earn the same as couples without children or single/childless people.

I once tried explaining all this to a feminist (in a couple and expecting their first baby) and she went mental and refused to accept the logic or even the principle.


mombers said...

This is all before taking into account that a single earner household suffers an much bigger tax bill than a two earner one though...

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, true, but that's a separate topic.