On March 16, Betsey Stevenson testified before a hearing of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on a proposed change to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that would require larger employers to submit pay data. The data, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, sex, and job category, would help the EEOC identify pay discrimination and encourage employers to promote equal pay in their workplaces.
In 2014, the median woman working full-time, all year, earned only 79 percent of what her male counterpart earned—a gap of more than $10,000.
“Many people point to differences [between the sexes] in education, experience, occupation and industry and call them differences in women’s choices. But these difference are often due to difference in opportunities, not choices," Stevenson told the EEOC. "While explicit barriers have been removed due to legislation forbidding discrimination, barriers continue to exist nonetheless.”
Of the proposed changes, Stevenson said that “Information about the wages of others is potentially an important factor in women’s success in negotiating raises and promotions and making employers aware of implicit bias. Enhancing pay transparency, as the proposed policy would do, can play an important role in helping women negotiate and reduce the pay gap.”
Stevenson's written testimony to the EEOC is available here.
Betsey Stevenson is an associate professor of public policy and economics. From 2013 to 2015, she served as a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. She is also a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research, a fellow of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich, and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Law and Economics Association. She served as the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor from 2010 to 2011.
--Story by Afton Branche (MPP '17)