NEGLECTED WOMEN AND OTHER IMPLICATIONS OF COMPARABLE WORTH
WALTER Y. OI
Comparable worth proposals presume that the gender wage gap is a result of occupational segregation. The proposals argue that females are channeled into "women's jobs" and that overcrowding depresses women's wages below the "value" of the work performed. Comparable worth legislation proposes replacing the idea of equal pay for equal work with a principle of equal pay for different work of comparable worth determined by job evaluations. Such job evaluations are feasible only for the public sector and large private employers. The analysis in this paper recognizes that comparable worth wage adjustments are to be limited to the large employers. It examines how employers in the covered sector tend to alter their pay packages and hiring standards. Comparable worth legislation also affects wages in the uncovered sector populated by small employers. The rationing of women's jobs and the changes in hiring standards for men's jobs in the covered sector tend to redound to the benefit of smart, energetic women and dull, indolent men. Copyright 1986 Western Economic Association International.
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