Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

May 13, 2014

MARCUS: Men and women and mind games

Economist Gary Becker died last week. He was a professor at the University of Chicago and winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Becker was known for his vigorous inquiries into the economics of topics many economists would not touch. He studied marriage and divorce, discrimination, crime and punishment, plus other real world issues previously avoided by the profession. Along with others, notably Armen Alchian of UCLA, Becker’s work became the backbone for the merged study of law and economics.

It was with thoughts of these economists in mind that I was disturbed to read Michael Hicks’ column (April 27, 2004), “Some Truth of Men’s and Women’s Wages,” printed in various newspapers. Hicks, a prolific professor of economics at Ball State University in Muncie, writes about the important issues of our times.

His column opens with this seemingly innocuous sentence: “For the purposes of this column, let us assume that businesses attempt to maximize their profit.” Whenever you hear or read those words, “let us assume,” you want to know what is being left out.

Via assumptions, economists often flatten the terrain with a logical steamroller, leaving the field without a stone of reality. Ignored here are subconscious or explicit preferences of management in hiring, promoting and rewarding employees. By assumption, we enter the fantasy world of perfect competition where only the worker’s contribution to profits counts. How management feels about working with diverse employees is crushed under the weight of an uncompromising pronouncement.

Hicks is quick to mention other factors related to why women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. He specifically calls our attention to occupation, education, job tenure and experience. These four factors, he tells us, “explain almost all wage differences; gender, almost none.”

He discards the possibility of gender’s importance because he already included the four leading employment factors where men and women differ. It is specifically because of gender that we find differences between men and women in occupation, education, job tenure and work experience.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • WOLFSIE: Giving a word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    August 1, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Stop spinning wheels and fund highways It is important that Congress act quickly to maintain sufficient funding levels in the Highway Trust Fund to pay for necessary highway projects.Indiana receives more than 40 percent of its total state highway and transit funding from the federal gove

    August 1, 2014

  • PETERS: Have a cup of joe to help your eyes? My day starts with coffee. I’m too cheap to buy it by the cup from baristas, so I just brew my own Folgers by the pot. I have a cup or two as I settle into work each morning, and another cup – sometimes two – in the early afternoon. That may not be w

    August 1, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Every town that has any sort of waterway -- whether it be a river or a creek or just a stream -- knows it will be used as a trash can. And oftentimes, tires are a favorite trash to be tossed into the waterways. Many organizations and concerned citize

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Data confirms our obsession with sports Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 30, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.