Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Thomas Sowell on Economic Facts and Fallacies

John Hawkins interviews Thomas Sowell on his new book, Economic Facts and Fallacies. Sowell discusses why women supposedly make 76 cents for every dollar a man makes:

There are lots of reasons. Men and women do not work the same number of hours. They do not work in the same occupations. They do not work continuously the same, and so on.

You know, if it was really true that you could hire a woman for three quarters of what you could hire a man with exactly the same qualifications, then employers would be crazy not to hire all women. It would be insane to hire men. Not only would it be insane, it would probably put them out of the business because the ones that were smart enough to hire women would have such a cost advantage that it would be really hard for the others to compete.

There are lots of gross differences between men and women and other groups and some of them shocked me when I first started doing the research. For example, I found that young, male doctors make considerably more than young, female doctors. But, when I dug into it a little deeper, I discovered that young, male doctors work an average of 500 hours a year more than young, female doctors. Obviously, a doctor that works 500 extra hours is going to make more money than the other doctor.

Wow, that's almost ten hours more per week that young male doctors work. With the soaring number of women going into medicine (usually in specialties like psychiatry, pediatrics,OB/GYN and dermatology) along with the aging population and possible universal healthcare on the horizon, I wonder how this fact will play out in older patients getting the care they need.

Anyway, it's a good interview, take a look.

Labels: ,


Blogger Darleen said...

actually I believe we'll get better care from all doctors when they take care of their own health..not be trying to prove something by working insane hours and attempting to function on little sleep.

I know my best friend from high school, who ended up being my family doctor for ten years, finally moved out of California to her own practice in New Mexico because she believed the pressure to be SuperRoboDoctor was a big pissing match to the detriment of her patients.

9:31 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger delagar said...

Wow, that Sowell sure is smart to have figured out what no one else in the country has noticed. Wonder why he's so clever?

10:02 AM, February 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not look at the REASON why women do not have the same motivation as men to produce out in society: Because statistically they don't have to. They get the same lifestyle by marrying the man who does it.

Second point: Why do all of these studies, articles etc. only look at income from earned work? I would be interested in who gets money overall in society - for earned or unearned work. I suspect that there are huge transfers of money to women that are not being looked at, within a family, from alimony, even dating.

If it's true that men are working far more, but women have more assets (which I think is the case), then it doesn't sound to me like women are the ones who are being oppressed.

10:26 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger BobH said...

To delagar:

Lots of people have noticed what Sowell has said. (The internet is full of blogs by economists that say the same sort of things: Cafe Hayek, Arnold Kling, Marginal Revolution and Greg Mankiw, to name a few) However, the mainstream media is so bigoted, lazy and ignorant that they never mention it. It just doesn't fit with the propoganda that they are trying to disseminate.

10:41 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


you know what the biggest predictor of wealth is?

An intact marriage, because both partners contribute and build assets together.

all other things being equal, that 76cents/$1 gap is quite a bit closer; however women still have to interrupt their careers because until men have fake wombs, only women have to take time out to give birth. Not because women are parasites that live off men.

Honestly, there are many happy, functional marriages!! Sheesh.

10:42 AM, February 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you know what the biggest predictor of wealth is?

An intact marriage ..."


What BS. "Biggest predictor" from among which factors? I'd say getting an MD, having rich parents or other factors are better predictors.

Married men have somewhat more money than unmarried men because:
1. Some unmarried men are divorced and have already given their money to a woman
2. Married men are usually older than single men (single meaning never divorced), older people have more money
2. (Here's the big one): Earning capacity (present or future) is a predictor of whether a man will marry or not. The cause and effect are inverted from what you are trying to depict. The bum in the street is less likely to be a suitable marriage partner.

On the woman's side: OF COURSE married women are going to be richer than their single sisters. The married women are getting a flow of assets from the work horse. I mean the husband. That's the big difference with regard to marriages involving wealth.

10:59 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger HMT said...

Hawkins states that male doctors make more money that female doctors because they work more hours. This is an error in causality. How do we know that the female doctors haven't decided that since they get paid less they see no incentive to work back-breaking hours?

11:03 AM, February 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dare I say that perhaps women work fewer hours because they still are expected to take care of most household issues and the children? That time has to come from somewhere.

I'm just sayin'!

11:04 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Has anyone done a study yet comparing the average amount of time male and female doctors spend with patients during a typical patient visit?

11:05 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I decided to do my own research into my question and got some interesting information from this 1998 article in Helen's favorite publication, the New York Times:

One big reason for the difference is patient volume. Most of a doctor's income is based on the number of patients seen, and male doctors generally see more patients per year than female doctors do. Among noninvasive cardiologists, for example, the men reported seeing an average of 1,645 patients; the women, 1,356. Yet patient load alone cannot account for the salary gap. If the average cardiologist's income is divided by the average patient volume, the men end up earning $163 per case to the women's $144. In obstetrics/ gynecology, the men average $76 a patient, the women $68.

Add to this discrepancy the fact that female physicians usually spend comparatively more time with each patient. One study found that male physicians managed to dispense with the majority of their patients in less than 11 minutes each, while female doctors could manage such celerity with only a third of their case load. The result? The women earn less for more.

11:25 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

My doctor, a male, is married to a doctor (female). He works more hours but she handles more of the responsibilities for their children. Most of the female doctors I know are married to doctors. Seems this may have some influence on hours worked by the different genders.

On a tangent - There are lots of gross differences between men and women and other groups and some of them shocked me when I first started doing the research.

I love this sentence.

11:30 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Sid said...

I build playgrounds for a living. I have a BS & MS in Child Development. I have the knowledge and experience necessary to understand and predict how children play individually and in groups. I also understand from varied and significant building experience growing up the nature of the building process. I understand how to build structures.

Allow mental work to this point...

Now, getting a 12ft long 6x6 pressure-treated beam out of the truck and into the hole that was dug 3 ft deep...

The point is that US society is slowly realizing that the customer's do not care if the electrician or plumber working in thier home has read any of Bill Shakespeare's work. They demand that he be competent and physically able to do the work. And they accept that he will charge as much or more than a physician.

11:59 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

darleen --

"...however women still have to interrupt their careers because until men have fake wombs, only women have to take time out to give birth."

A choice, last time I heard. Plenty of women do not have children by choice. And simply not true, to boot. My son-in-law was there the entire time and took a couple of weeks thereafter.

jami --

"Dare I say that perhaps women work fewer hours because they still are expected to take care of most household issues and the children?"

Dare I say that's crap. Household issues are divided. Men also take care of the children. This is not your grandfather's century. As a man who raised his child alone, I can tell you first hand, it's not all that hard.

cham --

NYT, scifi, not a great difference. Perhaps a better source?

12:16 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...


With a few clicks I have the source of the study, Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 1999 Report Based on 1998 Data,1
conducted by Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), published in the January 2000 edition of Hospital Physician, see page 67:

The disparity between male and female compensation can be attributed to differences in practice styles,not gender discrimination. Female physicians tend to spend more time with patients resulting in lower productivity. Female physicians are also more apt to workpart-time, which affords them the opportunity to raise children and spend more time at home with their families.

12:40 PM, February 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oligonacella -- I wish we were that advanced, but the reality is, there are still too many who follow the old "grandfather" generation standards of housekeeping and childcare, even while women continue to get more deeply into the labor market.

So, ideally, yes, my words are crap. But in reality ... old standards still survive.

12:45 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Keith said...

The causes for the average difference in saleries between men and women have been known at least since the nineties for those who wanted to know. The book Women's Figures by Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Christine Stolba summarized this research quite extensively in 1999. The short answer to why there is a difference is almost entirely personal choice. Choices in education, job category, type of employer, hours of work per week, time off for childrearing, willingness to relocate, etc. My sister chose to become a medical doctor knowing what she would earn. A friend of mine chose to become a social worker knowing what he would earn. My sister makes about four times my friend's salary. I see no discrimination here. In my experience, activists often manipulate statistics to promote their goals, and people typically fail to ask them the right questions.

12:51 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Memphis said...

It's too bad truths like this never travel very far. Aside from a small group of Americans who have heard this repeatedly rediscovered, the vast majority only ever hear the lies and the misandric hate designed to stir women into a rage against men. I'm afraid the haters are winning. In fact, based on what I've seen in my lifetime, I'd say they've won. Still, it's good to know the truth, even if it doesn't seem to have any effect.

2:50 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Rizzo said...

the vast majority only ever hear the lies and the misandric hate designed to stir women into a rage against men

Speaking of which, during the Superbowl, one of the women present trotted out the tired myth of the vast increase in spousal abuse during the Superbowl.

I didn't feel like arguing with her at the time, lest she accuse me of abuse or something, but it still surprises me that people believe this. Aside from being untrue, it doesn't even make much sense, logically.

3:07 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Keith said...

Hysteria has served feminists very well. Get enough of them wailing and a bunch of chivalrous men will rush in to pass legislation and save the poor dears. My grandmother was the daughter of immigrant parents. She graduated from college 80 years ago and became a very successful entrepreneur. She used to say that feminists were an embarrassment to competant women.

4:00 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Wait a minute, rizzo, you say that there is a myth of the vast increase in spousal abuse during the Superbowl. But think about it logically, for spousal abuse to occur you would have to have both spouses in the same room. Alcohol can be a contributing factor to abuse. 103 million people watched the Superbowl this year. Families made arrangements to spend time together, lots of time. It seems natural that the incidence of spousal abuse would increase given this set of circumstance, unlike other days where people might spend more time at work. The instances of spousal abuse probably increase on New Years, Christmas and Thanksgiving as well. It is the same reason that more heart attacks occur on Saturdays than other days, when people tend to exert themselves more.

4:17 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger JohnAnnArbor said...

Cham, Snopes is your friend.

4:21 PM, February 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is the same reason that more heart attacks occur on Saturdays than other days ..."


Can you back that up in any way? I understand the peak in heart attacks comes on Monday morning.

4:29 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

jami --

All you're doing is asserting. I assert the opposite. It's a push.

cham --

Appreciated. The article pretty much points out it's not a discriminatory issue. Nice.

As to the SB issue, that should also lead to a "vast" increase of female -> male spousal abuse. However, I'd rather rely on statistics, "logically" is so subjective.

From my POV, it's logically less likely as there is a crowd around and they exert an inhibiting effect.

Don't know about yours, but my family tends to get together to have good times.

4:38 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Keith said...

Cham, Christina Hoff Sommers debunked this one in 1994, in her book Who Stole Feminism. Many deeply cherished feminist beliefs are based on myth, supposition, assertion, etc, as far as I can tell, having examined a decent bit of feminist lit over the past 30 years. As a professional statistician and geneticist, and an avid amateur historian, I am amazed at what these folks come up with. They are definitely a far cry from the truly brainy and rational women I generally associate with. Sommer's book is a decent place to start on this. Daphne Patai's book Professing Feminism is also a good one.

4:51 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger BobH said...

To Keith:

I'll second the recommendation for "Who Stole Feminism". I used it to ambush an Adolescent Psychology professor, in front of over 100 other students, when she quoted the figure that 25% of female college students are raped. The professor had absolutely no idea where the figure came from but Sommers dedicated a whole chapter on the study.

5:23 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Good for you. It's unbelievable to me how many people, including and perhaps especially professors, spout off false statistics that they hear on the nightly news and then prattle on about the need to think critically about complex issues. If only they took their own advice.

5:38 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Here is an interesting article about weekend heart attacks in young and middle aged mend. But if you are older and an alocholic, Monday is your big day.

And if you really want to increase your chance for a coronory, just wait to watch the big game.

5:55 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Rizzo said...


What you are saying would be logical if the claim was that there was a slight increase in domestic abuse on Superbowl Sunday. However, the actual claim is that Superbowl Sunday is the worst domestic abuse day of the year. That seems a bit ridiculous since most of us aren't fans of either team, and as such, have no great emotional investment in the outcome of the game (as a Browns fan, I can attest that I've never cared much about the outcome of any Superbowl). It seems to me that, if the premise were at least partially true, then earlier rounds of the playoffs would result in greater levels of domestic violence simply because more teams are playing, and thus more fans are disappointed by the results.

Besides, it's a bit insulting and sexist. Us men just jump into a rage and start beating our wives over the outcome of a game between two teams we may not even be fans of? Come on.

And yet, still, women propogate such nonsense, even women who have husbands and male friends who would never lay a hand on their spouses.


I've noticed too that "critical thinking" is generally a code word used among teachers and professors to mean, "Students need to think more like me."

5:58 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Where did I mention gender? I said there may be an increase in spousal abuse on Superbowl Sunday.

6:05 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...

Hoff Summers book is a must read. She does the sweatwork in digging out the truth behind much of what passes as "accepted wisdom" and "appeals to authority".

9:27 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

Sowell is an intellectual hero of mine. I read his book, "Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality" in the late 1980's, and it made me a conservative. It convinced me that the government should not insulate women from the opportunity costs of their economic choices.

This has put me at odds with people like Darleen.

10:23 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


Exactly where have I said women should be insulated from their choices?

10:42 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...

btw jeff

No one here has said woman doctors should be "insulated" from their choice of earning less money because they spend less total hours per year in practice

however, consider that their choice is to sacrifice earning a larger salary so they can be better doctors and serve their patients better.

Not exactly slackers, eh?

10:57 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

darleen, of course they aren't slackers. They value more highly things other than money. Leisure is a good, so even if they were "slackers" it's a perfectly valid, even ethical, economic choice.

But what if women doctors spend less total years working because they choose to have children, thus leaving the top positions for men? Is there a need for government intervention, then?

11:31 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


No, not at all. Pointing out that is one of the things that makes for income disparity, rather than some Patriarchal Conspiracy, is not a call for intervention.

Neither should women (or men) be penalized for having families.

11:38 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

darleen, when you write "neither should women (or men) be penalized for having families," what do you mean?

Are you advocating some kind of government action, or just that we shouldn't socially stigmatize people who make the noble choices that create great families?

11:40 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...

First off, socially we have got to get back to honoring marriage and families. Right now were are in such a hookup kind of social structure - mook and midriff - that the culture allows people to extend their adolescence almost indefinitely.

The only thing I want government to do is to NOT penalize families. There should be no marriage penalty in taxes (which will come back if the Bush tax cuts are allows to expire). The law should not undercut parental authority and also reinforce parental obligation.

11:52 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...


The US has 300 million people right now. Should we be encouraging the citizenry to have more?

8:49 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


You like a society that encourages permanent teenagers? People who are increasing incapable of adult relationships? Females who are blase about whether or not they need a man in their life if they decide to have children and males who look at females as fleshy dispensers of sex?

You want MORE of that?

9:35 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I'm a permanent teenager, I'm having the time of my life.

10:04 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

darleen, I had you all wrong. I retract. It turns out we substantially agree.

10:09 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger dienw said...

"The bum in the street is less likely to be a suitable marriage partner.

Just as a side --snide-- note: The guitar playing drunk on the sidewalk is likely to be considered eligible by young, single women.

11:04 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Serket said...

It sounds like a good book and I enjoyed the interview. I'm glad he asked about a conservative fallacy.

Cham - Thanks for the alternate source; as opposed to the NYT it seems to say the difference is reasonable and not a bad thing.

3:03 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

cham --

Neither encouraging, nor discouraging. It's not the government's choice.

3:22 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Serket: Yes, the difference is reasonable. If you want to see a doctor that might earn lots of money, make an appointment with a male doctor. If you want a to see a doctor that might spend more time than average with you, make an appointment with a female doctor.

Cham: You're right, the government should neither discourage or encourage procreation. I certainly don't wish myself or anyone else to be forced to be human incubators so that we fit someone else's definition of 'adult'.

4:30 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...

I'm a permanent teenager, I'm having the time of my life

I can't deconstruct that in any way that's makes it flattering to you.

9:48 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...


I think it is flattering, for more info just go look at my blog. Life is good.

10:54 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Michael Lee said...

One thing overlooked here is the likelihood that women are still overpaid at the current ratio. I work in a technical field. We try very hard to hire women to preemptively defend against lawsuits. Of course, we have to weigh that against the additional lawsuits they bring, their dramatically greater use of disability benefits, their propensity for leaving the workforce within several years of being hired--not switching jobs, but getting to a point where their husbands make enough to support them, so they quit.

There is a huge premium that women get because of anti-discrimination legislation, diversity programs and other evil fruits of political correctness. Nearly as important is that many men (myself included) have frequently gone out of their way to mentor and advance women's careers. Men have been very slow to respond to feminism's androphobia, but we're starting to get fed up with it.

A looming problem for women is that men have a couple decades of experience now with how typically unserious women are about feminism and their careers. I expect the female pay ratio to reverse its upward trend and start slowing moving downward as men lower the glass ceiling to where it really should be.

1:30 PM, February 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't have to have babies. According to the latest news, the Hispanic population will bring the U.S. total to 438 million by 2050, growing 300% in that time frame.

Where are we going to put them? There won't be a tree or a wild animal left anywhere. It won't be my problem, but my kids will still be around.

Not trying to come across as anti immigrant. But practical. New York, L.A., Houston and Chicago will end up double digit millions of residents.

6:40 PM, February 11, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone notice how I slyly got PETA and the Sierra Club thinking it over?

6:45 PM, February 11, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

徵信社, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 徵信, 徵信社, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 外遇沖開, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信, 徵信社

12:01 PM, February 04, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:55 AM, June 08, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home