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Implicit Wage Theories in Equal Pay Debates in the United States

Listed author(s):
  • Ellen Mutari
  • Deborah Figart
  • Marilyn Power
Registered author(s):

    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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    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
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700110064337
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    1. 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.
    2. Rhonda M. Williams, 1987. "Capital, Competition, and Discrimination: A Reconsideration of Racial Earnings Inequality," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 19(2), pages 1-15, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Ferber, Marianne A, 1995. "The Study of Economics: A Feminist Critique," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 357-361, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Strassmann, Diana L, 1994. "Feminist Thought and Economics: Or, What Do the Visigoths Know?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 153-158, May.
    7. Strober, Myra H, 1994. "Rethinking Economics through a Feminist Lens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 143-147, May.
    8. Woolley, Frances R, 1993. "The Feminist Challenge to Neoclassical Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 485-500, December.
    9. 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.
    10. Janet Seiz, 1993. "Feminism and the History of Economic Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 185-201, Spring.
    11. George R. Boyer & Robert S. Smith, 2001. "The Development of the Neoclassical Tradition in Labor Economics," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 199-223, January.
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