Women, Men, and Pay: No More Negotiating for Initial Salaries?

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8 Responses

  1. Not a constitutional scholar says:

    Wouldn’t government-funded negotiation skills training that excludes male participants violate the Equal Protection Clause?

  2. Hillary Clinton is going to be paid less than most of her male counterparts on the cabinet…if only she had been forceful in her negotiations.

  3. dobe gulia says:

    Do you seriously not understand that employers compete for employees just like employees compete for jobs? And that to lure a desirable job candidate, employers routinely offer better terms than a candidate would have gotten elsewhere? Have you honestly not noticed that employees come in a great variety of skills, abilities, experiences, educational backgrounds, capacities to generate business, willingness to work on undesirable schedules and tolerate undesirable assignments, etc etc etc, all of which gets incorporated into their salaries? This goes even for low-level employees like secretaries, paralegals, nannies, seamstresses, and research assistants, some of whom are simply dramatically better than others, which an experienced hiring manager can tell from a combination of a resume, references, and an interview. Equal pay in such circumstances means undercompensation of the best and overcompensation of the worst — not an attractive proposition.

  4. TJ says:

    Well, it is kind of hard to envision the non-negotiation system you propose while keeping the market functioning. We typically have price-taking with relatively fungible goods and lots of buyers and sellers (commodities, retail goods); and we typically have negotiation when the market is for a unique good with few buyers and sellers (houses). Now, some jobs are relatively fungible, where the workers are just cogs and you could have employers set the initial price with no counter-offers (e.g. first year big firm associates). But not all jobs are like that, and it seems problematic to disadvantage the best workers by taking away their ability to negotiate a higher salary.

  5. JP says:

    “Why not urge employers to move away from negotiation of initial salaries as a way of reducing the disparity in pay between men and women?”

    The Equal Pay Act already does this to a very significant degree.

    It is odd that because Lilly Ledbetter’s trial attorneys forgot about her EPA claim, legislators and law professors have forgotten about the EPA altogether.

  6. Nick says:

    A different take on Ledbetter from Professor Richard Epstein’s Forbes column

    http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2009/01/12/ledbetter-congress-regulation-oped-cx_re_0113epstein.html

  7. Nick says:

    A different take on Ledbetter from Professor Richard Epstein’s Forbes column

    http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2009/01/12/ledbetter-congress-regulation-oped-cx_re_0113epstein.html

  8. Danielle Citron says:

    Really interesting post. Another possible way to combat the disparity would be greater transparency of salaries. If employers agreed to post the salaries of positions, say in a range, then individual female employees may feel more justifying in asking for equal pay.