Sexist pigs earn more than normal men

Irene sez, "Researchers from the U. of Florida found that men who believe in what they call 'traditional roles for women' (a woman's place is in the home, employing wives leads to more juvenile delinquency, etc.) earn more money than men who don't. The same is not true for women."
The researchers looked for gender role views as a predictor of a person's earnings - not surprisingly, they were able to find them. They controlled for job complexity, number of hours worked and education and their analyses concluded that men in the study who said they had more traditional gender role attitudes made an average of about $8,500 more annually than those who had less traditional attitudes.

For women, the situation was reversed. Women who held more traditional views about gender roles made an average of $1,500 less annually than the women with more egalitarian views. Put another way, if a married couple holds traditional gender role attitudes, the husband's earning advantage was predicted to be eight times greater than a married couple where the husband and wife have less traditional attitudes.

"These results show that changes in gender role attitudes have substantial effects on pay equity," Judge said. "When workers' attitudes become more traditional, women's earnings relative to men suffer greatly. When attitudes become more egalitarian, the pay gap nearly disappears."

Old-Fashioned Men Make More Money - Study (Thanks, Irene!)


  1. Two possible explanatory hypotheses:

    1) You get what you demand — “Traditional” men are more likely to press for raises until they’re paid better than women, while “traditional” women and more egalitarian sorts are not.

    2) “Traditional” men and women are more likely to gravitate to, tolerate and remain with like-minded employers, who pay them disproportionately. More egalitarian employees are more likely to leave sexist workplaces or exercise pressure on such employers resulting in more comparable pay.

  2. A lot of questions about the methodology here and the subjects studied. For instance, they data comes from interviews conducted over a 26 year span. The youngest participants are currently in the mid to late forties currently. There are generational and cultural forces that have shaped young people in the past 20 years that these people were aged out of. I’m in my 20’s and grew up with the perception of equality of the sexes as a given and, if anything, had a bias favoring women who had careers. A 14 year old in 1979 (The youngest age of the participants) and a 14 year old in 1994 were at very different starting points. I think this study is a snapshot of a generation.

  3. Hmmm… the good ol’ boys get the money and the rest of us don’t.

    Matches what I’ve seen, but good to have a “study” that shows it. I hope (as #2) that the methodology was sound.

  4. I find this hardly surprising since the traditional view is that women only have a job until they get married- at which point there is no income for her.

  5. How about the possibility that the traditional family unit is more effective by dividing labor to maximize income rather than equity.

    Might it also raise the standard of living of all participants more than even distribution, even if that distribution is not fair?

  6. One observation: even in a work environment with transparent salaries and enforced equal opportunity policies in place – the original pre-policies population may largely still be in place, have not retired, and are at the top of the hierarchy, so this trend may still hold true.

  7. They’re probably just going out and trying to earn more to support their wives, who probably work less than average.

  8. @Umbriel,

    What about the possibility that it’s a function of age; that is, that the highest wage earners tend to be the oldest workers, who may have less egalitarian views?

  9. Er, isn’t it kind of obvious? Poorer guys with families *need* two incomes, so they’ve come to grips with reality that they aren’t *the* breadwinner.

  10. meh. did we need a study to tell us this?

    forget about any kind of enlightenment or some new egalitarian shiny-happy future. the fact is we like what we like and no amount of therapy or argument or retraining is going to change this.

    i’m sure that on the women’s side, it’s the hotties who are making more than the notties.

    i don’t like it either but that’s just the way it goes.

  11. #1: There’s probably an option 3, but it’s similar to your option 1… In a “traditional” arrangement, the man is bringing in close to 100% of the income. Somebody who is squeezed for cash is more likely to demand, or at least go out looking for a raise.

    On the flip side, a man in a multi-income family has the flexibility to choose a more desirable job rather than a higher paying one.

  12. No surprise to me.

    Alpha male types tend to gravitate to demanding professions which pay more – doctors, lawyers, CEOs. (I always think of these as “bully” jobs where they can throw their weight and knowledge around) These jobs usually require a man to work a LOT. Therefore, it’s in their best interest and that of their families to have a woman at home, dedicated to the care of the man and his offspring.

    More egalitarian men choose professions which are less demanding, less managerial in which they can share the work of home life.

  13. how about this: the guy with traditional gender views typically has a supportive wife taking care of the home & kids which enables him to work overtime, take on additional responsibilities, travel for work etc which a guy who takes on more “at home duties” or who has a wife/partner who works won’t be able to do.
    I see this as a work/life balance thing, a career like law requires an insane (to me) level of commitment / sacrifice to get to the top (make partner at a big firm or whatever). We all find a way to justify/explain the choices we make…

  14. Correlation is not causation — and in this case, the other way round sounds far more sensible: men who make much more then their wife have a reason to believe in traditional arrangement (that’s the way it works for them); men who earn a closer wage to their wife’s don’t live it that way, so they don’t see it that way. Self-justification.

    I’m surprised they never considered to look at wage ratio within couples.

  15. “Boss, I need a raise so I can support my wife with two kids at home.” “OK.”

    Actually, I bet that would work for a woman who is the sole breadwinner wife of a stay-at-home dad.

    The REAL question is “do these sexist pigs wear lipstick?”

  16. @15
    I agree to the extent of the reference of the cliche Alpha male. Everyone has different priorities and these particular men have theirs set on a supporter role. With that comes more concern and focus to earn enough so the wife/mother can focus her energy on what she has agreed, hopefully before marriage, is important to support the household, which shouldn’t be overlooked in argument just because there isn’t a dollar sign in front of it, the work that my mother put into raising me has no financial worth but is very valuable. In the case where both partners are the breadwinners, they are more financially comfortable and there is less demand for the man to earn more, but that leaves them both tending to home life in their free time. It all depends on the focus of home life. Call me chauvinist, but I don’t want my kids to be raised by someone I haven’t decided to be with for the rest of my life, and any work that my wife puts into managing the homestead will be greatly respected and appreciated, since that is actually more valuable to me than any amount of money she could earn.

  17. Ah yes, secretly everyone wants to work in the imaginary world of “Mad Men” where sexism boosts great drama. Well, maybe it’s not that imaginary…

  18. Correlation =/= causation.

    And given that they corrected for number of hours worked, the proposal above that it’s because the sexist men had supportive wives and worked more doesn’t fly.

    They also corrected for career type, so the suggestion above regarding alpha male jobs v. non-alpha jobs also doesn’t fly.

    It’s possible that those men that believe that expressing this opinion are more outspoken in general and more likely to ask for raises.

    Or the study could be flawed. With a 60% retention rate, maybe the successful non-sexist men dropped out of the study with greater frequency. I’m also curious what “average” means for the salaries.

  19. So, a sexist guy married to a traditional (read: insane) woman still ends up making $6k/year more than an egalitarian couple. Hmm.

    Of course, this could have something to do with the number of really old men on the top end of the corporate foodchain… One sexist male who’s making $20M+ a year counterbalances a hell of a lot of younger people with more modern views waiting for the old codger to kick the bucket.

  20. wait wait wait wait.

    So, the study seems to suggest that we are comparing working males to working males and see a difference of $8k, and that we are comparing non-working females to working females and see a difference of $1k. This MAY make sense, but I find it highly surprising, and a bit suspect.

    If anything, I would suspect those figures to be reversed. Who crunched their numbers? =/

  21. Judging from my personal, non-scientific observations in the workplace: those guys tend to be nastier, more ruthless, and will seek to drum out anyone who disagrees with them.

    Plus they have a tendency to protect one another (at least until an opportunity to knife one of their own in the back presents itself).

  22. I think Chuck has pegged it. I think we’re talking narcissists and sociopaths. They lack empathy, they think everyone else’s needs should be secondary to theirs. Of course they believe in traditional roles for women, women are supposed to be looking after them. They probably also believe in slavery too, if they could just make it happen.

    And they are ruthless about getting ahead. When push comes to shove, they don’t care what happens to other people. So this all makes fine sense to me.

  23. I don’t know how it plays out for men, but I would think women with those traditional views would select themselves out of higher paying jobs. They probably feel guilty for having to work since they aspire to stay at home, whether or not they can realistically afford that. Theoretically they’d be less likely to apply for higher positions, push for raises, etc.

  24. @10 Thoria — I’d add that to the list, though a study like this should be able to confirm or correct for that effect.

    @16 Hal — Seems like a more elaborate and reasonable spin on my #1.

  25. People tell me I’m an “alpha male”. Does that mean I am automatically a sexist pig? I think of myself as more of a sexy boor, really.


  26. I don’t know. Giving Cory the ability to call people who earn high salaries “sexist pigs” is the least reality can do.

  27. Diedzoeb,

    I think you pegged it.

    Here is the general sense I get of the attitude of the middle class:
    There is a feeling of pressure to stay at home if you have children so that “they will be raised properly.” There is an idea that typical daycare will expose your children to bad behavior and not give them the edge they need, and that by staying at home this will somehow be avoided. Having a stay-at-home Mom is not economically feasible for many couples, since often the husband does not earn enough to afford it. So it makes sense that when you have a husband that makes slightly more, it gives the woman the ability to stay at home.

    In other words, men whose wives work don’t make less because their wives work. Their wives are probably working because these men make less.

    However, I’m fairly certain that in upper class families the woman almost always works. You are more likely to see an Au Pair at hand, freeing up the time of the woman to pursue her passions. There isn’t the same stigma to having an Au Pair as there is to day care.

    Just my thoughts on the subject.

  28. Bet you that a lot of the top bankers who caused the recent financial crash were not big on feminism either.

    pollyannacowgirl has it right – alpha males gone wild is a pretty big problem.

  29. ETI @ #17:

    < <"Boss, I need a raise so I can support my wife with two kids at home." "OK." Actually, I bet that would work for a woman who is the sole breadwinner wife of a stay-at-home dad.>>

    Don’t know about that. I used to supervise the new guy at work who bought a big home in the suburbs because he decided it was time to settle down (still looking for the spouse to complete the picture, though). The top boss patiently explained to me that the reason the guy was going to get significantly more money than me, and a company car to boot, was because he needed to support this new someday-family-friendly lifestyle. I was the sole breadwinner in a living-together relationship, living in a rental apartment in town and taking public transportation to work. I didn’t “need” so much from the company.

    Yes, I quit. Yes, he was fired shortly thereafter, because without me fixing up his messes, his work was piss-poor. But for a short while there, he was making $40K more than me. Plus the friggin’ car. Just because he *might* become a family man in future.

    The first part of your post, though, OH YEAH do I agree with you! So often I have seen a woman’s responsibilities cut back after she becomes a mother, or the raise that was due not happening after all, but the instant a guy tells the boss his wife is pregnant, his stock bumps up in the corporate world.

  30. Chgoliz, do you honestly believe that this is a common practice? My knee jerk reaction in this situation would also be to find work elsewhere. Companies that do this are really shooting themselves in the foot.

  31. i’m sure that on the women’s side, it’s the hotties who are making more than the notties.

    This sounds completely false to me, but if it is true, I am going to be very sad about our society.

    Wow! Holding views which you find disagreeable makes someone a pig?

    Yeah, Cory. People who want women to be confined to non-paying, less rewarding, less socially prestigious housework regardless of their talents or desires so that they have to be financially dependent on men aren’t pigs. They just disagree with you.

  32. “The same is not true for women.”

    Wait. Hold on.

    Are you trying to tell me that women who have paying jobs make more than women who stay home cleaning the kitchen and wiping baby asses?

  33. Purly (#36) – the same thing happened to me at my last review. My boss explained that although I was one of the top performers in the company, there was only so much money to go around, and he wanted to make sure that my co-worker got the biggest raise. You see, this co-worker had just bought a bigger house, and his wife had quit her job to stay at home with their kids, and my boss thought I’d approve of his decision to “help them out.”

    I was surprised at his candor but rather upset to learn that my kick-ass work had less impact on my salary than my decision not to have children.

  34. Purly @ #36:

    < >

    Yes, sadly, I do. ITA with you that someone who has good self esteem AND extremely marketable skills AND the flexibility to leave a job without another one in place is going to vote with their feet. But what about the other 95% of employees? Not everyone can just leave when they’re being discriminated against, especially since it’s not like there’s one bad employer in town, so if you just get away from that company, you’re certain to be treated OK.

    In the long run, I agree that a company will go down if it discriminates. It’s artificially denying itself a worthy segment of the employment pool. But that can take years or even decades sometimes.

    For example: we’ve all had sociopathic bosses. In a perfect world, they’d all be out of work after showing their true colors a few times to a few different employers. But that’s not how the world works, is it? They’re almost always still in positions of power long after you and I have left for (hopefully) greener pastures.

  35. In my experience, a lot of bigoted people do surprisingly well in their careers especially in the world of large corporations, whether they’re sexists, racists, homophobic or some ungodly combination of the three.

    My guess is that this is because when you’re the sort of person who boosts yourself up by taking a whole sub-section of humanity and classing them as inferior to you, you’ve then got a lot of artificially created self-confidence to feed your ego and career drive. Such people (and women are included) tend to be aggressively confident and have a huge sense of entitlement (because after all, they just know they’re better than so many people!). Colleagues/superiors who work with someone like this often soak up the confident attitude day by day until it begins to seem like the sense of entitlement must be deserved and BAM – promotion. It’s like a war of attrition.

  36. @19 a bigot deserves to be called a lot worse than that. ‘Pig’ shows remarkable restraint given what such people believe (and no doubt say amongst their bigoted little buddies).

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