Women With Skinner Figures Get Paid More; Children and Individuality; And More

Study: For Women, Skinnier Figures Can Equal Fatter Paychecks

Ladies, are you feeling bad about those extra five pounds? This might just make you feel worse. (Sorry!)

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, women who are “very thin” earn nearly $22,000 more than their “average weight counterparts.” The study was conducted by Timothy A. Judge from the University of Florida and Daniel M. Cable, from the London Business School, who examined the relationship between income and weight in men and women.

And not only are women earning less if they are of average weight, they are actually punished if they are overweight; Forbes reports that “‘Heavy’ and ‘Very Heavy’ women lost over $9,000 and almost $19,000, respectively, than their average weight counterparts.”

Sadly (but not surprisingly), gaining weight seems to have a harsher impact on women’s income than it does on men’s. The study showed that when men gain weight, their paychecks don’t suffer the same way women’s do. And of course, you can’t forget that men were likely already earning more to begin with. So ladies, even if you’ve worked to close that gender wage gap, there’s also now the gender and weight wage gap. We wish we could make some snarky jokes about this, but frankly, we’re just too depressed at the moment. (via Forbes)

BONUS: Map on the Pay Rates Of Women Across States (SPOILER ALERT: Not Equal to Men’s)

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/06/07/study-for-women-skinnier-figures-can-equal-fatter-paychecks/#ixzz1Oi7talEm


from Family Inequality 

The child’s individuality, dated

by Philip Cohen

When did children become individuals?

Two years ago last week, I was looking at the Social Security name database, and made this historical assertion:

Two centuries ago, the vast majority of European Americans were not looking for a unique name, or a name that was coming into vogue, or a name that matched a popular cultural figure — or trying to avoid a name that had jumped the shark. They almost always named children after their parents. Besides the sad fact that many children died at young ages — and that there were too many children to keep track of (the average White woman had 7 children in 1800) — it just didn’t occur to people that children were priceless individuals. And naming wasn’t a way to make a statement about character and identity, it was just a family brand.

I’ve picked up this theme again recently with the Mary naming fiasco, and have been giving some thought to the “evidence” issue. Using the fabulous (and fabulously frustrating) Google ngrams tool has been a great help — so far shining the language light on the birth of adolescencechanges in family structure, and the explosion of “parenting“. Could it help here, too? I think so.

Based on Stanley Lieberson’s work, the first place to look was the late 19th century. That’s when children’s names started to look like subjects to the whims of fashion. That led to Viviana Zelizer’s Pricing the Priceless Child, which I somehow never read before. She tracks children’s value transition to that period as well. Before that, orphans, for example, were either handy little workers or burdens to be shed, and mortality rates in orphanages were astronomical; after that, they (or, some of them) were expensive objects of priceless value for infertile couples. And also in the late 19th century there were bursts of activity in the production of parenting advice and in the professionalization of elementary education.

Somewhere in that reading I came across the phrase “child’s individuality,” and it seemed like a flag planting for the birth of modern childhood. Ngrams concurs:

The graphs shows the percentage of books in Google’s database that use the term “child’s individuality,” from 1800 to 2000. That’s about 1880 where the term explodes into view. A read through the citations from that period shows they are concentrated in the parenting advice and education fields. Here’s an example from the advice literature:

A child is liable to be looked upon as if he were simply one child among many children, a specimen representative of childhood generally; but every child stands all by himself in the world as an individual, with his own personality and character, with his own thoughts and feelings, his own hopes and fears and possibilities, his own relations to his fellow-beings and to God. — H. Clay Trumbull,Hints on Child-Training, written in 1890.

And one from the education literature:

“The child’s individuality and freedom should be sacredly respected. All educational processes are to be based on a careful study, not only of child-nature in general, but also of the idiosyncrasies of the individual pupil.” –Thomas J. Morgan, What is the True Function of a Normal School?, 1886.

But maybe this is just the rise of individuality, not something unique to children? Not quite, says ngrams: Man’s individuality predates children’s by 40 years or so.

(The convergence of man’s and woman’s individuality in the 1970s presumably reflects the decline of “man” as the generic.)


Time check

by Philip Cohen

When, if ever, did this ship get turned around?

After I commented on Time‘s story about young women earning more than young men, Editor-At-Large Belinda Luscombe was good enough to drop in with her comment on my comment. Our exchange led me back to look at the story, and that led me to tinker with the data. And so here we are.

I have three principal beefs with the Time story. My take and some numbers follow.

1. Juxtaposing the overall gender gap in pay with the female advantage among a small slice of the population, and titling the story “At Last, Women on Top.”

Because of the fixation on single numbers, we’re doomed to reflect everything against “the” gender gap, which shows that, as of 2009, full-time working women earn an average of 80.2% of men’s earnings. So Time wrote:

The fact that the average American working woman earns only about 8o% of what the average American working man earns has been something of a festering sore for at least half the population for several decades. … But now there’s evidence that the ship may finally be turning around…

The splashy that some women out-earn men. But the evidence that followed was not about all full-time working men and women, but rather only unmarried workers in the age range 22-30 who have no children and live in large cities — they out-earn similar men by 8%. That could be important. But what does it have to do with “the” gender gap? Even for these women, as Heather Bousheypointed out, what about job segregation and promotions (not to mention child and marriage effects, which really matter).

2. Conjuring a trend from one point in time compared with a presumption about the past.

The story did not reveal a trend, but rather a snapshot of a trend presumed to be in progress. Given what we know about lagging progress toward gender equality — which might or might not be unstuck by the mancession — we should not assume that today’s fact is part of a wave of continuous progress in the direction of equality.

3. Relying on an unpublished analysis by a marketing firm without questioning its assumptions or conclusions.

In this day and age, and with all the corruption going on, who’s got time or patience for peer review? I am definitely not saying that you need a PhD in a relevant social science and your own blog to have something valuable to say on this subject. But this is a well-studied issue, and lots of experts are available to consult, interpret, or critique a splashy new finding — such as those who recently commented for a similar article in the New York Times, or experts on discrimination issues.

Peer review may be a boring system for ensuring conformity to arcane standards while protecting the privileged status of pampered intellectual elites. But those standards encourage researchers to follow common practices and reveal the details of their work, which makes it possible for others to replicate and explore it.

My take

But is the finding important? Time‘s expert attributed this subgroup of women’s advantage “overwhelmingly to one factor: education.” The education explanation was persuasive to Boushey, who wrote: “That’s what the Reach Advisors study shows—that because there are more young women with college degrees, women now outearn young men.”

In that case, education should have been considered in the analysis. I do that a little now. First, women started receiving a majority of four-year college degrees 30 years ago, and female college graduates have been outnumbering men in the 25-34-year-old age group for 20 years:

Source: My graph from Census and Department of Education data.

So, if it’s just more women having college degrees (having exempted all those with messy family issues holding them back), then we might expect that the gender-gap ”ship” actually started turning around a while ago.

When I complained to Belinda Luscombe that “there is nothing in the story to show that this narrow subsection of workers hasn’t always shown a female advantage,” she replied: “are you really suggesting that it was ever thus and young women have always out earned men?”

I never say “always” (though I always penalize students who do). But look at this:

Source: My analysis of data from the 1990 and 2000 Decennial Censuses, and the 2008 American Community Survey, provided by IPUMS.

Sure enough, the median earnings for men and women in this odd, unrepresentative slice of the population have been basically equal since at least 1990. So, maybe Time should have done this story 20 years ago.

I can also provide a little support for the education hypothesis. If you take those same samples, but throw out the people who didn’t finish at least 4 years of college, the graph looks like this:

Source: My analysis of data from the 1990 and 2000 Decennial Censuses, and the 2008 American Community Survey, provided by IPUMS.

So, if the female advantage Time found really results from women having more education, the bad news is that the gap among those with college education hasn’t closed much (which could have to do with the stall in gender integration by field of study).

Because the overall gender-gap among college-graduates aged 25-34 is about 81%, these women are doing better relative to men than average college graduates. Why? In the end, I don’t believe the ship has turned around. The main reason is probably the selection of men and women who’ve never married and have no children — the “maternal wall,” as Joan Williams calls it. Is the plan for equality to “die childless at thirty“?

But I don’t much stock in the premise (can’t you tell?). If you’ll pardon me while I put on my demographer’s hat, I am especially concerned with the changing nature of who is in this odd group. People getting advanced degrees — increasingly common over recent decades — are mostly not working full-time till they graduate, so many of them are excluded from this under-30 group. And the age at marriage has increased. And marriage is more common among women than men at young ages. And what about race/ethnicity? Marriage is especially uncommon among young Black women, and young Black men have relatively low average wages (which drove the advantage for women in the NYC study).

And so on. So I don’t want to go too far down the road of explaining this (as if I haven’t already). Because this approach is wrong. We shouldn’t derive an unusual pair of comparison groups and then try to explain the comparison by referring to other facts not in evidence. If you really want to see the relative effects of education, age, marital status, children, race/ethnicity, and so on, you need to do it right.Skin


2 thoughts on “Women With Skinner Figures Get Paid More; Children and Individuality; And More

  1. Pingback: After Earning Over 360mm

  2. Pingback: Best of 2011: Weed Is Not a Gateway Drug, Politics and Religion Are Key in Choosing Mates, and More Random Stories of 2011 « Welcome to the Doctor's Office

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s