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The Free Market Approach to Comparable Worth

Laura B. Pincus (Assistant Professor of Business Law at DePaul University, Department of Management, 25 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois 60604, USA)

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Article publication date: 1 May 1992



The issue of comparable worth exemplifies the imperfection of market effects. The argument made by proponents of comparable worth is that women earn between 59% to 65% of men's earnings because they are systematically segregated into jobs which are traditionally held by women and traditionally underpaid. Champions of comparable worth argue that each job has an inherent value irrespective of the market, that the market thus is imperfect in its valuation of females in these positions, and that the law should create a hierarchy of job positions which are comparable worth and set wages accordingly. They refuse to accept that an employee's economic worth is determined by his or her salary. Due to this flawed approach, they fail to recognise the incomparable wages derive not from faulty wage‐value scales but from the supply and demand curves that are formed.


Pincus, L.B. (1992), "The Free Market Approach to Comparable Worth", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 1-3.




Copyright © 1992, MCB UP Limited

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