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The Economic Case for Comparable Worm Barbara R. Bergmann Those concerned to find the most expeditious cure for the huge disadvan- tage of women in terms of the average wages they receive have fixed their attention on the idea that employers should be required or encouraged to make changes in the pattern of occupational wages. Such changes would be designed to bring wages in predominantly female occupations and wages in predominantly male occupations closer together. These occupational wage changes might be made legislatively or administratively in public employ- ment, might be made through collective bargaining in unionized establish- ments, or might be ordered by judges as remedies in cases of sex discrimination under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This paper examines some of the issues associated with wage changes designed to reduce the wage gap between the sexes: When, if ever, and on what grounds might such wage changes be made? What kind of system might be used in arriving at the new wage structure? Are the slogans "com- parable pay for jobs of comparable worth" and "pay equity" useful in this context or do they muddy the waters? An economist is, almost by definition, a person elaborately trained to demonstrate and to preach that prices and wages are best determined in a free, competitive market by supply and demand. Any economist who would urge on fellow economists the desirability of enforced and administered revisions to wages has a heavy burden of proof to bear. If she or he goes further to suggest that considerations of worth or equity have some validity, the burden becomes even heavier. This paper is an attempt to shoulder some of that burden. 71
72 BERGMANN The main line of argument is the rather obvious one that the market in which occupational wages are set lacks important elements of freedom and competition. In the future, after sex (and race) discrimination have been eliminated, the pattern of occupational wages will be determined in a market that is more free and more competitive. The wage structure that then results from the interplay of supply and demand will surely look very different from the existing one, because the supply of and the demand for labor in each occupation will no longer be affected by discrimination as they now are. I further argue that wage revisions designed to reduce the wage gap between the sexes are reasonable and desirable if they bring us closer to the more efficient and fairer wage structure that would be established by the free market itself in the absence of discrimination. The goal of research in this area must be the construction of methodologies to estimate in some detail what the postdiscrimination pattern of wages will look like. As we shall see, this will involve descriptions of jobs in terms of the qualifications a person must have to perform them successfully. Conventional job evaluations, as currently developed, may well meet many of the desiderata of such models, although this is a matter for further research. The paper starts out with a case so simple that it contains none of the complications involved in the implementation of wage realignment in any real situation. This simple case, however, does lay out the bare bones of the rationale for such realignment when discrimination is an important element in the marketplace. In this case I demonstrate that applying the labels "pay equity" or "comparable worth" to the principles advanced to justify and guide such a realignment does not strain economic sense. The subsequent discussion is designed to deal with some, although far from all, of the difficulties posed by more realistic cases, in which factors other than dis- crimination come into play. A VERY SIMPLlt lED, TWO-OCCUPATION CASE I start by considering the obviously unrealistic case in which differences in training, native abilities, and tastes for different kinds of work are assumed to play no part. In analyzing a labor market with just two occupations, I initially assume that anyone in the labor market, male or female, is capable of doing eitherjob equally well and likes one job as well as the other. It is most convenient and sacrifices no generality to consider the argument in terms of a numerical example. While such an example has the disadvan- tage of wearying most readers with discussion on an elementary level, it has the countervailing advantage of providing fairly realistic numerical esti- mates of the costs of wage realignment for use in later sections. Table 1 gives in numerical form hypothetical demand schedules for the
THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR COMPARABLE WORTH TABLE 1 Illustrative Demand Schedules 73 Total Demand (tinder assumption of Occupation A Occupation B equal wages) Number of Number of Weekly Number of Workers Workers Wage Workers Weekly Demanded Weekly Demanded in Both Demanded Wage (thousands) Wage (thousands) Occupations (thousands) $300 8 $300 0 $300 8 250 1 1 250 1 250 12 200 14 200 4 200 18 150 17 150 7 150 24 100 20 100 10 100 30 two occupations, which represent Me number of workers that employers would hire for Hose jobs at venous wage levels. For example, at a wage of $200 per week, employers in this labor market are assumed to be willing to hire 14,000 workers in occupation A. At the same wage in occupation B they are assumed to want to hire 4,000, for a total of 18,000. At higher wages, employers would want to hire fewer workers, and at lower wages it is assumed they would want to hire more. Hypothetical supply schedules by sex are displayed in Table 2, which shows the numbers of men and women who would offer their labor to employers at venous wage rates. The Case of No Sex Discrimination Let us first assume that employers act on a sex-neutm1 basis and welcome men and women into both occupations. Under this assumption, market TABLE 2 Illustrative Supply Schedules Men Women Total Supply Number of Number of Weekly NumberofWorkers Workers Workers Wage Supplied in Both Weekly Supplied Weekly Supplied in Both Occupations Wage (thousands) Wage (thousands) Occupations (thousands) $300 12 $300 10 $300 22 250 1 1 250 9 250 20 200 10 200 8 200 18 150 9 150 7 150 16 100 8 100 6 100 14
74 BERGMANN forces would be expected to eliminate any difference in wages between occupation A and occupation B. If any difference in wages did show up, workers in the lower-paid occupation would try to shift to the higher-paid occupation. I am assuming there would be no tear to such movement because of lack of training or skill, distaste for the occupation, or custom. Nor are employers assumed at this point to inhibit the flow of workers by excluding anyone for reasons of sex. The attempt of workers to enter the higher-paying occupation would increase the supply of workers to it and would decrease the supply of workers to the lower-paying occupation. This would go on until the wages in the two occupations were once again in equality. Since wages in the two occupations can, under these assumptions, be assumed to be the same, except for temporary lapses, it makes sense to compile a "total demand" schedule, which is the total amount of labor that employers would be willing to hire at various wage levels with identical wages in the two occupations. This schedule is displayed in the last two columns of Table 1. If wages do not differ by sex, it makes further sense to compile a "total supply" schedule of people available to employers at each wage. This schedule is shown on the right in Table 2. In the hypothesized case, because there is competition across the sexes for jobs and across jobs for labor, the considerations of supply and demand would suggest that the wage in both occupations and for both sexes would be $200 a week. This is the wage at which the number of workers sought by employers would tee equal to the numberofworkers who wantedjobs in each occupation and in the labor market as a whole. This solution is shown diagrammatically in Figure 1. There would be 14,000 people in jobs of type A and 4,000 in jobs of type B. and the wage would be the same in both jobs. Both men's and women's wages would be $200. In such a labor market, we would expect to see men and women in both occupations. The Case of Sex Segregation of Occupations Let us now change the assumptions about how employers operate and assume that they maintain the practice of restricting women to jobs in occu- pation B. I will continue to assume that men and women do not differ in skill Grin preferences for one job over another. I will not pause here to discuss the possible reasons that employers might pursue such a policy, which would have to be labeled discriminatory by any reasonable definition of that term, given the assumptions. Nor shall I examine the issue of whether competitive pressures would allow employers to persist in such behavior. Some econo- mists and sociologists see the actual labor market as operating to an impor-
THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR COMPARABLE WORTH 300 v, = o - 200 100 o 75 W_~/ Unsegregated ~ - Equilibrium for All / Workers / - \ Supply 1 1 \1 20 NUMBER OF WORKERS (thousands) FIGURE 1 Supply and demand in unsegregated labor markets. 300 = o - LL~ 200 a: a: LL 100 1 30 1', \ Occupation B \ Demand \ ! I \ \ Female \ Supply \ 1 \ I \ 1 \/ / Segregated _ / Female r `' / Equilibrium ; AL ): / Segregated Male ~Equil ibrium / / 1 / l /Male Supply \ \ jupation A Demand 1 11~\1 1 \] o 10 20 NUMBER OF WORKERS (thousands) FIGURE 2 Supply and demand in sex-segregated labor markets.
76 BERGMANN tantextentin the way I assume in this case, but others, of course, do not. ~ For readers in the latter camp, the arguments of this paper will be acceptable, if at all, only as applying to an unrealistic case. Whatever the psychological or sociological or economic reasons for employers to insist on the posited sex segregation of occupations, the supply and demand resulting from their behavior would be very different from that in a labor market in which occupational sex segregation was absent and employers paid no attention to sex, as under the assumptions in the previous section. The demand schedule for occupation A would become simply the demand schedule for male workers, and similarly the demand schedule for occupation B would become the demand schedule for female workers. It would no longer tee appropriate to add up the demand schedules or the supply schedules into unified market schedules, because occupational segregation has changed the structure of the labor market so that the market does not operate in a unified way. Instead, there are now separate men's and women's labor markets, each with an independent wage determination process. In fact, going back to the numerical example in Tables 1 and 2, the supply and demand conditions now assumed to be in force would dictate that the market for men would be cleared at an average wage of $250 per week, and the market for women cleared at $150.2 This outcome is displayed in Figure 2. WAGE STRUCTURES IN INDIVIDUAL ESTABLISHMENTS My analysis has thus far encompassed Me labor market as a whole. At this point let us shift the focus to the individual employer and inquire how this employer participates in the labor market and is affected by it. An employer whose establishment has jobs in particular occupations will keep cognizant of the market wage for workers considered to be acceptable for performing those occupations. The employer will keep abreast of what other employers are paying such workers and use that information in set- ting the fien's wages for jobs in those occupations. To an employer who practices sex segregation, being of the correct sex is a requirement for acceptability in each occupation, along with the ability to do the job. ~ Gold (1983) presents arguments on both sides of the case. 2 The argument adopted here closely resembles the line taken in Bergmann ( 1971 ). In addition, it is argued in Bergmann and Darity (1981) that occupational segregation may have an economic motivation in that it prevents difficult social situations from arising in the workplace and so enhances productivity in the short fun.
THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR COMPARABLE WORTH 77 The reason for an employer's use of information about what other employ- ers are paying to "acceptable" workers lies in the employer's own interest. If an establishment sets a wage for an occupation much below what other employers are offering, few acceptable workers may apply, and the estab- lishment's best workers may leave. If an establishment's wage is set much above the market wage the average that others are paying costs may be unnecessarily driven above and profits driven below what they might other- wise have been. In some situations an establishment may want to depart from the market wage. Sometimes the offer of a wage similar to the market wage brings too few acceptable applicants; the firm must then consider whether the produc- tivity of this type of worker is high enough to make it profitable to offer a higher wage. In the opposite case, when there is an oversupply of acceptable applicants, a lower wage may be set, at least for new entrants. Situations like this, in which firms depart from market wages, change the levels of market wages and make them responsive to changes in the conditions of supply of workers to firms and the demand by firms for workers. In the presence of competition it makes economic sense for employers to pay attention to the market wage when setting their own wages and in the absence of discrimination it is generally conducive to economic efficiency that firms operate in this way. Let us now consider how individual firms that have ent~y-level jobs in occupations A and B might react to market wages when, as in the example in the previous section, these wages have been influenced by other employers' segregation of male and female workers . Let us assume as above that all men and women in the labor market from which the company draws its workers are capable of doing all the jobs and, given equal pay, would be indifferent to which job they held. Wages in a Nondiscriminating Firm Let us first consider the situation of the Smith Company, which I will assume is the exception to the general practice Of sex segregation and, unlike other employers, does not take into account the sex of the applicant in deciding whether to hire and where to place that applicant. We may now ask what wages Smith Company might reasonably set. One possibility for Smith would be to ascertain market wages for both occupations end to set wages as other employers do. This behavior would set the jobs held by men in other companies (occupation A) at a higher rate of pay than jobs held by women in other companies (occupation B). Smith Company would, with that conventional wage structure, end up with both men and women in occupation A the male-type jobs and all or mostly
78 BERGMANN women in occupation B the female-type jobs. Men applying to Smith who were not offered occupation A jobs could probably do better elsewhere, and few would accept employment by Smith in occupation B jobs. As time went on, the women employed by Smith in occupation B jobs would ask for transfers to the occupation A jobs in Smith, and, if they were given prefer- ence over outside applicants, these jobs would also become all female. If the nondiscriminating Smith Company did mimic the wage practices of discriminating companies, it would not be maximizing its profit, however. The supply situation faced by Smith for occupation A would be different from that faced by the discriminating companies by virtue of the fact that Smith considers women as well as men to be acceptable forthose jobs. Smith would have a surplus of candidates forjobs in occupation A, and the princi- ples outlined above should lead Smith to lower the wage it offers in that occupation. In fact, Smith would end up paying about the same in occupa- tions A and B. The wage for both would be the wage paid for B by discrimi- nating employers. In so doing Smith would cut its labor cost by eliminating the bonus paid in occupation A jobs a bonus made unnecessary by the successful recruitment of women into them. In this case we would expect to see few men in any of Smith's ent~y-level jobs.3 It should be noted that profit-maxim~zing behavior for Smith with respect to wage structure would be to install for its own internal use the wage structure that would be general in the market in the absence of discrim~na- tion. To the extent that Smith's nondiscriminatory behavior has an apprecia- ble influence on market wages, the effect will be to reduce the differential between wages in occupations A and B paid by firms that continue to discriminate because of the decreased employment of men and the increased employment of women by Smith. This would increase the supply of men and decrease the supply of women to other employers. Thus, the more Smith Companies we have, the lower will be the average differential between wages in the two occupations in the market generally. Wages in a Discriminating Firm Let us contrast the situation at Smith Company with that of Jones Com- pany, which considers only men to be acceptable in occupation A. Given 3 Empirical evidence that this analysis is correct is found in Blau (1976). In examining the hiring and wage practices of employers of white-collar labor, she found that some companies hired only men in somejob types. Companies that allowed women into those occupations paid workers in those jobs considerably less than did companies that excluded women. I also note here that economist Allen Greenspan is reported to employ practices in his consulting business similar to those of the Smith Company in the example. He said to a New York Times interviewer that he hires women economists and pays them less than he would have to pay men of equivalent quality.
THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR COMPARABLE WORTH 79 that Jones will not allow women into A, it maximizes its profit subject to this self-imposed constraint on whom it can hire in each occupation. To do this it mimics the wage structure of other employers, the vast majority of whom maintain a similar segregated pattern. Jones cannot hire enough acceptable workers for occupation A unless it pays the high wages that its discriminat- ing rivals do, and Jones need pay only the customary low wages for occupa- tion B to maintain an adequate supply of women to such jobs. This is a good place to observe that while occupational segregation is surely a cause of wage differentials between men and women, causation may also (and at the same time) run in the other direction. The desire on the part of an employer like Jones to maintain a wage structure like that of other employers i.e., to pay market wages may enhance the desire to maintain occupational segregation, even in the absence of discriminately feelings. If a female job candidate is allowed by an employer who pays market wages to chose between vacancies in occupation A and occupation B. the employer will have trouble filling the lower-paying occupation B jobs. To avoid this the employer must steer female candidates to jobs in occupation B by hints that they will get no job at all if they insist on a job in occupation A. WAGE REALIGNMENT IN THE SIMPLE CASE Let us proceed by assuming that a federal judge has seen evidence of the occupational segregation of men and women at Jones Company and has been presented with evidence that their qualifications do not differ. Under the Civil Rights Act, the judge has ordered the company not only to cease barring women from occupation A, but also to realign its wage structure.4 We must now consider whether there is a way to realign wage rates in the Jones Company that does less violence to economic logic than the current setup does. Standard economic theory teaches that efficiency is promoted when com- modities substitutable on a one-for-one basis (all male and female workers, in the example) have the same price. When employers discriminate, this principle is violated. The most obvious principle to use in realigning wage rates in the Jones Company is to arrange matters so that, within the firm, substitutable workers have the same wages.s In following this principle and equalizing the wages of Jones Company workers in occupations A and B. one would, of course, be creating a new inequality in the wages of substitutable workers namely, between workers 4 For a discussion of some of the legal issues in the context of the economic issues, see Bergmann and Gray (1984). An earlier version of some of the material used in this paper appears there. 5 What an appropriate definition of "substitutable" might be in this context is briefly discussed in the next section.
80 BERGMANN employed by Jones and workers employed by companies that continue to follow the market currently dominated by discriminating employers. It is the potential creation of this new type of inequality (together with a preference for market processes over administrative processes) that probably accounts for the strength of the opposition of many economists to the wage realign- ment urged by the advocates of comparable worth. The proposed exchange of one type of inequality for another is not, however, an exchange that moves us backward or leaves us static in terms of equity and efficiency. On the contrary, in addition to moving us forward in terms of equity, such an exchange also moves us forward toward the achievement of a wage structure for the market as a whole in which the principle of equality of wages for substitutable workers is in force. As more establishments voluntarily or involuntarily realign, average practice will become more like that in realigned establishments, and the market will be closer to the nondiscriminatory wage structure blessed as efficient by eco- nomic theory. In arriving at the conclusion that Jones Company ought, under our simpli- fied assumptions, to be required to pay equal wages in occupations A and B. we did not need to know anything about the duties or "value to the employer" of the two occupations. The assumption that all members of the labor force can do both jobs equally well and do not prefer one job over the other is sufficient for this result, because this condition implies that a nondis- criminatory market would have resulted in equal wages in the two occupa- tions. As the next section shows, considerably weaker assumptions as to substitutability will also suffice. The notions of comparable worth and pay equity were not really needed to arrive at this understanding. However, it is worth remarking that after wages in the example are aligned so that they are equal, the rational employer will equate the marginal productivities in the two occupations, so that the "worth" to the employer of the (equally capable) marginal workers in both occupations will be comparable and, indeed, will be equal. Moreover, the realignment clearly increases fairness. So those who would apply the terms "comparable worth" and "pay equity" to this process of realigning wages are not being misleading in any fundamental sense. The worst that might be said of the terms is that they are needlessly provoking to neoclassical econo- mists. What should the level of the newly equalized wages be? We must assume that the Jones Company is already a going concern. If Jones Company is typical, about 60 percent of its incumbent workers are men in A-type jobs at $250 and 40 percent are women in B-type jobs at $150. If Jones is allowed or forced to do what the Smith Company has done voluntarily, the Jones male workers will have to take a very sizable pay cut. This may be judged unfair to them, may cause the company to suffer high
THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR COMPARABLE WORTH 81 turnover, and may be legally and politically impossible. If, however, the women in occupation B are brought up to the level of $250, then, using the numerical illustration, the company will have a 27 percent increase in its payroll, a development possibly fraught with heavy repercussions for the company's profitability. The profitability problems would be especially severe if Jones is the only company whose wages are being realigned and if Jones served a small share of a relatively competitive product market. If, however, Jones is a state government, the danger of having to cease opera- tions would be absent. One possible compromise would be to have a period of a few years in which wages in occupation A would rise by a considerably smaller percent- age than wages in occupation B. For example, in a year in which all wages went up an average of 10 percent, occupation A wages could rise by 2 percent while occupation B wages rose by 30 percent. This would lower the wage gap between A and B from $100to $65, or45 percent in a single year. After the Jones Company had realigned its wages, the pattern of its occu- pational wages would look very different from the pattern in the market consisting of the remainder of the companies that exclude women from certain jobs. As time went on, however, and more of these companies went through the wage realignment process, reduced occupational segregation, and increased their demand for women workers to take jobs in previously male occupations, the wage patterns in the nonrealigned companies might be expected to move toward those in the realigned companies, as the latter came to dominate the market. ABILlTl~S, TASTES, AND SUBSTITUTABILITY Up to this point, the discussion has proceeded under the assumption that workers do not differ in terms of their ability or desire with respect to the two occupations into which I have assumed they are divided. These assumptions led to the conclusion Mat in a nondiscriminatory labor market, wages in the two occupations would be equal. This in turn suggested that, within firms, wages in the two occupations should be equalized. In fact, in order to arrive at the conclusion that wages in the two occupa- tions should be equalized within firms, it is not necessary to assume that all women could hold and would be willing to hold jobs that are currently dominated by mend A considerably weaker assumption would do. Just enough women need to be willing and able to change occupations so that the "crowding" of labor in the women's occupations would be relieved if 6 The material in this section originates in a discussion I had with Mark Killingsworth~who is not, however, to be construed as agreeing with the point of view taken in this paper.
82 BERGMANN employer-enforced segregation were relaxed. In the numerical example, starting from a condition of complete segregation, a shift of just half the women from occupation B to occupation A would accomplish this. What the necessary proportion would be in reality and whether skills and tastes are or might soon be such as to allow for a large enough shift on the part of women into male-dominated occupations are questions that only empirical research or the future course of events can answer. The assumption of substitutability can also be relaxed somewhat with no violence to the conclusions. A contention, for example, that typists and tuck drivers might get the same pay in a nondiscriminatory market does not require for its validation evidence that typists, working as typists and using the tools of the typing trade, could make deliveries of groceries to supermar- kets. What is required is that some modest number (certainly not all or even most) of the women who today are in the process of taking their first typically female jobs would have the ability and the willingness to take typically male jobs at the entry level, and that employers of workers in such jobs welcomed their entry and were committed to eliminating the harassment of women workers apparently so common in those jobs. If that modest number of women were willing to shift, as their current response to limited opportuni- ties to make such a shift demonstrates is the case, then discrimination rather than women's choices is responsible for much of the wage gap between the sexes. The wage-setting process in the present market is tainted by discrimi- nation. And it is that taint that invalidates the common assumption that market wages are sacrosanct. MORE COMPLICAltED CASES The criterion developed to deal with realignment in the simple case pre- sented above was that the realigned wages ought to have a pattern similar to that in a labor market in which sex discrimination was absent. In that exam- ple the recommended patternnamely, equality in wages for the two occu- pations also was the pattern that would have been chosen voluntarily by a nondiscriminating employer. It is, I believe, enlightening, in dealing with more complicated cases in which there are many types of occupations and in which not everyone can do every job, to conduct a thought experiment. Suppose that one day all women were to disappear from the labor market, in the process vacating all the jobs they had held. Assume that for each woman who left, a man of identical talent and knowledge entered the labor market. Some of the newly entered men would presumably be hired to replace the vanished women in previously female-type jobs. Others of them might go to work in male-type jobs for which they were competent. We can now ask
THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR COMPARABLE WORTH 83 what the occupational wage pattern might look like in the reconstituted labor market in which employers have been forced to give up sex discrimination by the disappearance of women on whom to practice it. As a first approximation, each of the previously female-type occupations would assume the wage of the male-type occupation closest to it in terms of requirements of worker characteristics. Each such pair of jobs would have a common supply of labor, namely, all those who are competent to perform the pair ofjobs and who are excluded by lack of competence from higher-wage jobs. A similar wage for any two paired jobs would make sense, exactly as in the simpler case in which there was only one pair of occupations. This first- order adjustment, which would raise the pay of jobs formerly held by women, would be a response to the difficulty of recruiting labor for those jobs at their old wage levels. The men who had replaced the women previ- ously holding those jobs would have alternative options not available to women in the paired jobs and in other previously all-male jobs requiring lower skills but paying higher wages than the previously female jobs. A pay raise would be required to retain those men in the previously female jobs. As time went on, a second-order adjustment might be anticipated. We would expect that the numbers of workers whom managers would want to keep employed in the previously all-female jobs would decline because of the new necessity of paying them higher wages. Both critics and advocates of comparable worth strategies have pointed to these disemployment effects as bolstering their arguments. Critics have argued that the resulting disemployment of women would more than cancel out the beneficial effects to women of higher wages. Advocates have argued that the disemployment effects would speed a beneficial desegregation of occupations, as the women disemployed from previously female-dominated occupations would be obliged to seek work in previously male-dominated fields. The experiment has been tried in Australia, where the actions of government-appointed boards with jurisdiction over occupational minimum wages resulted in large upward adjustments in average wages in female- dominated occupations. The Australian experience seems to suggest that disemployment effects need not tee large (see Gregory and Duncan, 19811. Even later, a third-order adjustment would occur, with a redefinition ofthe duties and requirements of particular jobs, as employers adjusted to the new wage pattern and rationalized their production processes to take account of it. WAGE REALIGNMENT AND JOB EVALUATION The realignment of wages in actual cases under the rubric of comparable worth would be the administered analogue to the first stage in the process of adjustment to a sex-blind labor market described in the last section. The
84 BERGMANN second-order and third-order adjustments we have described could be expected to follow later through the operation of market forces rather than through administered changes. In the discussion of the first-order adjustment process, the essential ele- ment is the grouping of jobs into sets that can draw labor from a common pool. The methodology of doing this in practice must surely have a great deal in common with job evaluation schemes in wide use in American business. These schemes describe jobs in terms of requirements for generalized abili- ties. Each job under consideration is assigned a numerical score for each kind of ability. The higher the quantity or quality of that ability the job is assumed to require, the higher is the corresponding score. The ability scores are then added up into a total score for each job. The reduction of a highly circumstantial job description to a single numerical score facilitates the comparison of jobs whose duties differ considerately in a qualitative way, in terms of the abilities required of the persons who fill them. Thus, the imple- mentation of a job evaluation scheme in a comparable worth study takes the place of the pairing of male and female occupations in the illustrative discus- sion above. In principle, at any rate, the two procedures are quite similar. This analysis has put emphasis on worker characteristics rather than on job characteristics. For at least some job evaluation schemes, the job character- istics included in the evaluation index have been chosen, consciously or unconsciously by the designers of these systems, because they imply the requirement for certain abilities in the incumbent worker. For example, the widely used Hay System awards scores for knowledge and problem-solving abilities required of and independence exercised by the worker. Any particular scheme must be amended, before it is employed as a tool of analysis in a comparable worth case, to exclude sex bias in job evaluation. It is certainly doubtful that any existing scheme could be used without amend- ment in this way. As an example of obvious sexism, Hay System job evalua- tors were told to equate the skill necessary to operate a mimeograph machine (which requires about 10 minutes to learn) with the skill necessary to "oper- ate a typewriter." Certainly a great deal of further research would be required before any particular job evaluation system could be endorsed for the pur- poses of wage realignment. However, we can have some confidence that an appropriately designed scheme, similar in principle to the job evaluation schemes currently in wide use in American business, could contribute to the achievement of a first-order approximation of the pattern that would emerge after discrimination had been ended. CONCLUSION This discussion has drawn the conclusion that the wage pattern in the existing segregation-ridden labor market is very different from He wage
THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR COMPARABLE WORTH 85 pattern that would be dictated by a market free of discriminatory sex segre- gation. The latter would be more efficient and more fair. An establishment- by-establishment realignment of wages with a pattern more congruent to a nondiscriminatory pattern would improve economic functioning in the long run. The major challenge to economic research is that of building an economic model of the labor market for the purpose of estimating the pattern of wages that the free market would dictate in a nondiscriminatory world. One inter- esting question on which further research is needed is how close the existing orproposedjob evaluation schemes come in terms of meeting the criterion of usefulness in this context the ability to identify sets of jobs that can draw workers from a common labor supply, which would thus pay similar wages in a nondiscriminatory labor market. A high-quality predictive model of wages in a labor market without dis- crunination would give validation to the claim that the wage realignments made using it would take account of comparable worth, as economists have traditionally understood worth to be measured, and would further pay equity. REFERENCES Bergmann, Barbara R. 1971 The effect on white incomes of discrimination in employment. Journal of Political Economy (Fall). Bergmann, Barbara R., and W. Darity 1981 Social relations, productivity and employer discrimination. Monthly Labor Review (April). Bergmann, Barbara R., and Mary Gray 1984 The economics of compensation claims under Title VII. In Helen Remick, ea., Compa- rable Worth and Salary Equity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Blau, Francine 1976 Equal Pay in the Of fire. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books. Gold, Michael Evans 1983 A Debate on Comparable Worth. Ithaca, N.Y.: Industrial and Labor Relations Press. Gregory, Robert G., and Ronald C. Duncan 1981 The relevance of segmented labor market theories: The Australian experience of the achievement of equal pay for women. Journal of Post Keynesian Economics 3 (Spring):403428.