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Implicit Wage Theories in Equal Pay Debates in the United States

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  • Ellen Mutari
  • Deborah Figart
  • Marilyn Power
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    Abstract

    We identify three implicit wage theories in U.S. debates over the principle of equal pay for equal work: wages as a living , wages as a price , and wages as a social practice . Arguments for wages as a living emphasize that the purpose of the wage is to provide an adequate level of support for the worker. Proponents of wages as a price emphasize that wages allocate resources and are primarily the outcome of forces of supply and demand. To these two standard views we add an analysis of wages as a social practice. As a concrete social practice, wages shape as well as reflect gender, race, and class. It is only by recognizing that wages serve multiple functions and contain multiple meanings that we can grasp the complexity of wage-setting processes.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13545700110064337
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 23-52

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:7:y:2001:i:2:p:23-52

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    Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RFEC20

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    Related research

    Keywords: Living Wages; Equal Pay Act; Pay Equity; Feminist Theory; Economic Methodology;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Janet Seiz, 1993. "Feminism and the History of Economic Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 185-201, Spring.
    2. Strassmann, Diana L, 1994. "Feminist Thought and Economics: Or, What Do the Visigoths Know?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 153-58, May.
    3. Strober, Myra H, 1994. "Rethinking Economics through a Feminist Lens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 143-47, May.
    4. Diana Strassmann, 1993. "The Stories of Economics and the Power of the Storyteller," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 147-165, Spring.
    5. Rutherford, Malcolm, 1997. "American Institutionalism and the History of Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 178-195, September.
    6. Woolley, Frances R, 1993. "The Feminist Challenge to Neoclassical Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 485-500, December.
    7. George R. Boyer & Robert S. Smith, 2001. "The Development of the neoclassical tradition in labor economics," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 199-223, January.
    8. Deborah Figart, 1997. "Gender as More Than a Dummy Variable: Feminist Approaches to Discrimination," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(1), pages 1-32.
    9. Ferber, Marianne A, 1995. "The Study of Economics: A Feminist Critique," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 357-61, May.
    10. Marilyn Power, 1999. "Parasitic-Industries Analysis and Arguments for a Living Wage for Women in the Early Twentieth-Century United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 61-78.
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    Cited by:
    1. Mary King, 2009. "Occupational Segregation by Race and Sex in Brazil, 1989-2001," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 113-125, June.

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