Focus on Research

January 4, 2013 12:41 pm

Something for the weekend

Pay differentials between the sexes have long been a topic of debate, now a new study has found that women are likely to earn more money when they opt for careers that are not dominated by men.

After examining data from 20 industrialised countries researchers have found that when there are few men in an occupation women have a greater chance of getting to the top and earning more money. However in occupations where the genders are more or less equally balanced men dominate the higher paying jobs.

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Focus on Research

The academics say that Slovenia appears to be fairest to women in terms of remuneration, while Japan demonstrates the biggest inequality in pay between the sexes.

“Higher overall segregation tends to reduce male advantage and improve the position of women,” says Girts Racko from Warwick Business School. Dr Racko, with Robert Blackman of the University of Cambridge and Jennifer Jarman of Lakehead in Canada say that women in Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic do not fare as well as their male counterparts because they are more likely to work in the same occupations as men.

“The greater the degree of overall segregation, the less the possibility exists for discrimination against women and so there is more scope for women to develop progressive careers,” say the writers.

“The dimensions of occupational gender segregation in industrialised countries” is published in the journal Sociology and online at Sage publications.

Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia is favoured by many as a finger-tip source for facts. But given the fact that it is written and edited by unpaid volunteers does it present a biased approach or does it manage to maintain the neutral point of view?

Intrigued by this question Shane Greenstein a professor of management and strategy at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his co-author Feng Zhu, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California looked at articles containing the nouns democrat or republican.

Using a method created by Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapior of the University of Chicago the pair ultimately ended up with a list of 70,000 articles which they then ran through a computer programme.

They discovered that first version articles from early in Wikipedia’s history – Wikipedia was launched in 2001 – had a distinctly Democratic slant, however later articles tended to be slanted towards a more neutral point of view.

“An article ‘born’ in 2002 turns out, on average, to be very slanted – much more so than an article first entered in 2008,” says Prof Greenstein. “These ‘vintage effects’ pretty much disappear after 2005, so it’s really the early articles that are heavily slanted.”

Prof Greenstein suggests this early bias may be because early in 2001 and 2002 many of the people online were college students. A further explanation may be because early broadband users also tended to be from a specific education group.

The article can be read at Kellogg Insight.

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