In the Battle of the Sexes, Partisans Outearn Peacemakers


Call it a self-fulfilling stereotype.

Men who believe a woman’s place is in the home, rather than in the workplace, are likely to earn substantially more than men who believe women deserve equal pay for equal work. That’s according to a new study, by University of Florida organizational psychologists Timothy Judge and Beth Livingston, of 12,686 Americans and how their understanding of gender roles affected their earnings over time.

That male chauvinism works to the advantage of men in a male-dominated marketplace shouldn’t be surprising. But the magnitude of the effect took the study’s authors by surprise: sexist men earned, on average, $11,930 more per year than their egalitarian male counterparts over a 25-year period.

The effect works in reverse for women. While they still earned slightly less than egalitarian-minded men, women who believed in gender equality earned $1,052 more per year than women who held more “traditional” views.

In other words, for both sexes, it pays to pick a side.

We can think of at least two other studies that seem to illustrate this effect.

A 2007 study found that female executives (who are outnumbered eight to one in corporate America) earn roughly $16,000 more per year than male executives. Presumably, female executives believe in gender equality. Considering how relatively thin their ranks are, they know what it means to have fought for it.

That same year, women living in major American cities earned substantially more than men in the same age groups (women in their 20’s earned 17 percent more in New York, and 20 percent more in Dallas, Tex.), according to a study by Andrew Beveridge, of Queens College. Beveridge attributed the flip-flopped wage gap to the fact that, in cities, more women tended to be college educated than men, and their lifestyle choices bucked traditional gender roles.


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  1. Alex B says:

    I wonder if some men that believe in equality in the workplace are also overcompensating at peacemaking.

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  2. Silvanus says:

    An interesting corollary- perhaps chauvinism enables more confident decisions or at least perceptions of confidence. There’s a few confidence measures out there; wouldn’t have been tough to tack it onto the survey. But then again, that’s in their limitations- they had no personality variables in their instrument.

    I like that they were doing both inbetween and within group analysis. I’ll have to take a closer look at that section.

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  3. Steve says:

    This is hardly surprising.

    Men who believe in equality will mentor women. When employers then feel the heat to promote women, this gives them a supply of eligible candidates, thereby bypassing those men who helped them to find these candidates.

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  4. martin Henner says:

    I can’t tell if the pay difference has to do with different occupational choices made by chauvinist men or egalitarian ones.

    Maybe the more chauvinist ones choose sales or other employment fields with higher income.

    Have the researchers matched the groups within the same occupational categories. That is, do chauvinist stock brokers earn more than egalitarian ones. Or surgeons or accountants?

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  5. jz says:

    “About 45% of New York City women aged 25 to 64 ever marry,” he says. “Elsewhere in the country, some 61% of women live with a spouse.”

    to find career opportunities: —–>move to New York

    to marry—————————>stay in Miami

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  6. Ryan says:

    What if the belief that unequal pay is the result rather than the cause.

    People believe in what they see. If a man makes more than the women he works with, he’d be more inclined to think it was correct… Thus, the belief in the correctness of unequal pay would be the result and thus all this study would be measuring is whether men see this happening…

    That there is then a correlation between the result and its cause would be hardly surprising.

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  7. Matt W says:

    I wonder if the difference has anything to do with attitudes toward child-rearing. I am an engineer, currently on a two-year work hiatus to take care of our new daughter while my wife starts her career as a university professor. This more egalitarian view of child-rearing certainly will have the effect of putting me behind relative to my “wife takes care of the kids” peers. On the other hand, I am using the downtime to pursue a graduate degree and, after a couple years, my wife and I will both be earning professional-level pay.

    Rather than focus on individuals, I wonder about the long-term incomes of egalitarian couples/families relative to their “traditional” counterparts.

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  8. Noah says:

    What about men who don’t think a woman’s place is in the home but recognize that hiring a woman for an low/entry level position caries a greater risk of turnover?

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