For most of recorded history, men's pay has tended to be higher than women's. This both reflects and underpins gender roles, with men's authority more highly valued socially as well as economically. In Unequal Pay for Women and Men, Heather Joshi and Pierella Paci look at why gender pay inequality matters. They argue that no amount of training, maternity and parental leave, or child care provisions will change women's economic status if pay treatment remains unequal—if the market values men's time more than women's.
The book is the result of an extensive study of the relative wages of British men and women between 1978 and 1991. Using two large and extremely detailed longitudinal data sets, one of women and men born in 1946, and the other of women and men born in 1958, the authors examine the evolution of the pay gap over time and evaluate the success of policies designed to establish equal pay.
Although the book focuses mainly on Britain, the results are of interest to labor economists in other countries, as well as to researchers in other fields studying the changing role of women in the labor force.
About the Authors
Heather Joshi is Professor of Economic Democracy and Deputy Directorof the Social Statistics Research Unit at City University, London.
Pierella Paci is Professor ofEconomics at City University, London.
"The authors exploit a unique opportunity to compare two cohorts on either side of the British equal pay legislation watershed. They provide a thorough analysis of what lies behind the gender pay gap in Britain."
—John Ermisch, University of Essex
"Well-written and excellently presented.... It would be very useful to students and scholars of the British labor market generally as well as to those particularly interested in gender equity. For the latter it would be essential reading for some time to come."
—Jane Humphries, Reader, Faculty of Economics, Cambridge University
"The standard of scholarship is excellent. The authors are widely knowledgeable in the field, the data sources are rich and scrupulously handled, and the technical quality of the analysis is high throughout."
—Mary Gregory, Institute of Economics and Statistics, Oxford University
"This work is an outstanding contribution to the literature on sex differentials in pay in Britain; it is full of interesting ideas and hypotheses.... I expect that interest in this work will go far beyond Britain: in particular, the differences between the British and U.S. experiences will be very interesting to both specialists and nonspecialists in the U.S."
—Mark R. Killingsworth, Department of Economics, Rutgers University
"This book brings together new evidence about British trends in the wage gaps between men and women working full-time, and between working full-time and part-time. This book persuasively combines detailed analysis of longitudinal data sources with insightful discussion of the role of changes in equal pay legislation and the British labor market."
—Stephen P. Jenkins, University of Essex
"This tale of two cohorts, one aged 52 in 1998 and the other aged 40, clearly identifies where progress in equal pay has been made—among women who have no let motherhood interfere with their working lives. Those who have taken breaks or work part-time face even greater penalties than the older generation. I heartily endorse the authors' conclusion that we will not have a a level playing field in the labor market unless it also extends to the home."
—Jill Rubery, Professor, Manchester School of Management, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology