December 29, 2005
David Cameron: Dickhead.
Right, I’m calling this. It’s official. David Cameron is a dickhead. Not content with getting St Bobbo to misinform him on aid and poverty, little Zachariah to fill his pretty little head with absurdities about the environment now he’s done this:
David Cameron committed the Conservatives yesterday to a campaign to end the "scandal" of women being paid less for doing the same job as men.
What, might you think, is wrong with this? Well, what we don’t actually know is why there is a pay gap. Is it male bosses deliberately discriminating? If it is, free market types like myself would argue that this gives some firms a free lunch, by being able to hire women in preference to men from those discriminating firms.
Or, similarly from a free market perspective, might the non-wage costs of hiring women be higher? Might that maternity leave and so on explain why women get less dosh but cost the bosses the same amount in the round?
Or, even, might it be that women themselves choose to work in jobs where there is lower pay but greater all round satisfaction? Perhaps working more part-time jobs (as, indeed, they do).
But that’s not the reason Cameron’s shot his bolt already. This is:
He said that after 30 years of the Equal Pay Act, women's pay was still nearly a fifth lower than men's, and for women working part-time, the gap was around 40 per cent.
That’s the bit. He’s swallowed the propaganda hook, line and sinker. That figure is based on "research" released by the Equal Opportunities Commission and is, at the very least, mendacious and if we are honest is a lie. We would rather like to have as the Leader of the Opposition, as the PM in Exile, someone who is able to see through such smokescreens, to tease the truth from the noise that surrounds him. I mean, it’s not as if someone hasn’t explained it now, is it? Like myself at the Adam Smith Institute blog.
You can only reach the 40% figure by comparing full-time male wages with part-time female wages. That is not, in any way, "the same job". When we compare part-time male and part-time female wages in the private sector the difference is a shade over 10%.
No, I don’t mind that the Grand Poohbah is not taking note of myself. I don’t even mind that he doesn’t have an aide who keeps up with what the think tanks are saying on varied subjects. What I do mind is that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that he’s swallowing the enemy propaganda.
So there you have it, proof positive. David Cameron says the gender gap in pay is 40%. And he’s based a speech and will base policies on that. And it’s not true. Q.E.D.
David Cameron. Dickhead.
Update. The AnonEcon sends in this .pdf with some figures broken down by occupation.
He also advises:
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Its politics - the Conseratives need to gain demographics - women voters.
So say and do things that sound pro-women. Simple. You gotta admit, this guy wants to win and nothing will stand in his way.
Posted by: Paul Staines | Dec 29, 2005 9:46:00 AM
if you're nice to me, or really as I can't be bothered doing proper work, I can run off some stats from the Labour Force Survey comparing the hourly earnings of males and females in the same detailed occupational type for full time employees. Actual evidence might be interesting in this case - especially for certain technical occupations where there is little room for subjective interpretation.
Posted by: Angry Economist | Dec 29, 2005 10:22:03 AM
Do they collect stats on industry segment worked in, along with maternity time taken?
I'd bet a great deal that pay and maternity time taken have a negative correlation.
Everyone who runs a business with their own money (like me) won't employ women of impregnable age. Why? They can ignore their contract. Businesses pay people to do a job, not knock out children.
Posted by: Rob Read | Dec 29, 2005 11:26:11 AM
I can probably find something like this and test the statistical correlation. The thing is that there are so many factors impinging on pay. Maternity is but one of them.
One interesting analysis would be a cohort analysis of females - by age groups, qualifications, maternity etc. And compare and contrast between them. Might be revealing.
Anyhow, back to my day job which is not labour market economics at the moment (it used to be).
Posted by: Angry Economist | Dec 29, 2005 12:16:02 PM
"..this guy wants to win and nothing will stand in his way."
Hmm, reminds me of someone else who turned out to be a complete disaster as PM...
Posted by: JuliaM | Dec 29, 2005 12:44:09 PM
Quite frankly this man's honeymoon period has been very brief. When was he crowned "PM in exile"? Two months ago? Already he's appointed a bunch of complete mugus to policy units (St Bobbi and Zacharius to name but a pair). Then his economic fundi, Oliver, stands up and starts spouting how redistribution of wealth is what conservatives are all about. B******ks! Redistribution is theft pure and simple and consewrvatives used to stand on the side of law and orser, not to mention property rights.
Quite frankly with this crowd in the shadow cabinet Gordon must be sitting in the Treasury rubbing his hands with glee. He's a sure fire winner in the next election.
Next door's garden boy has taken cover. I'm now targeting other neighbourhood domestic workers.
Posted by: Remittance Man | Dec 29, 2005 3:44:08 PM
Paul, people who own and run their own businesses are now (thanks to Thatcher) quite a big section of the electorate. What's more, they are particularly well-represented among social group AB which David Cameron is so keen to win over. And the Tories need, above all, to regain a reputation for economic competence.
Dumping on this section of the population is neither right nor good politics.
Posted by: Sean Fear | Dec 29, 2005 4:17:52 PM
I very much doubt that business owners are a larger constituency than women, who make up more than half the population, and who were vital to earlier Tory election victories. Pursuing policies that help women (and don’t just ‘sound pro-women’) would be very good politics indeed. Shame none of our parties have the balls.
Posted by: Contradictory Ben | Dec 29, 2005 10:18:40 PM
The chick vote.
Makes you wonder why we gave it to them if, as a class, they are unable to rise above Women's Weekly type of thinking, astrology, hocus pocus, being lied to...
Posted by: Bozo | Jan 4, 2006 9:55:56 PM