Sunday, November 4, 2018

Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence From Train and Bus Operators

The abstract from a paper by Harvard Valentin Bolotnyy, Ph.D. candidate in economics:

Even in a unionized environment, where work tasks are similar, hourly wages are identical, and tenure dictates promotions, female workers earn $0.89 on the male-worker dollar (weekly earnings). We use confidential administrative data on bus and train operators from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to show that the weekly earnings gap can be explained entirely by the workplace choices that women and men make. Women value time and flexibility more than men. Women take more unpaid time off using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and work fewer overtime hours than men. Men and women plan to work similar overtime hours when they are scheduled three months in advance, but men actually work nearly 50% more overtime hours than women. Women with dependents value time away from work more than do men with dependents. When selecting work schedules, women try to avoid weekend, holiday, and split shifts more than men. To avoid unfavorable work times, women prioritize their schedules over route safety and select routes with a higher probability of accidents. Women are less likely than men to game the scheduling system by trading off work hours at regular wages for overtime hours at premium wages. Conditional on seniority, which dictates choice sets, the weekly earnings gap can be explained entirely by differences in operator choices of hours, schedules, and routes.
Results you would expect based on general observations and sound economic analysis which suggests that something must be driving women's wages down other than discrimination against them.

(ht Tyler Cowen)



  1. That's modern day scientific economics: proving the obvious through empirical statistical analysis. Of course, sometimes they get the wrong result and then have trouble deciding if they need to start over or not.

  2. "How dare you use logic to make a valid point about superfluous details!" will be standard retort. I wonder how many women approach their job from the perspective of offered value? I would bet 'again' its far less than most male employees.

    Flame me if you like but think about it for a second.

  3. Using computers to choose hiring based on merit alone ended up with computers that "discriminated" against women. So much for those who did the study and amazon that tried it just to see what would happen who thought for sure if people were removed from the process it would be 50/50. Nope.