Capitol Hill staffers divulge how a cutthroat workplace with low pay and lots of bad bosses shape their lives

Capitol Hill staffers
Congressional staffers sample entries at the annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition on Capitol Hill on April 09, 2019. Some staffers scout for free food at Hill events to save money.

  • Insider has been reporting on how low salaries and workplace issues impact Congress’ staffers.
  • Some staffers’ salaries were so low, they qualified for income-assisted housing or took second jobs.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently announced a higher salary cap for senior staff.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

They may walk the halls of Congress in neatly-pressed suits and help their bosses write important legislation, but their bank accounts tell a different story.

Entire paychecks eaten by day care expenses. Vending-machine ice cream for dinner. Hundreds of dollars going to a decade’s worth of credit-card debt. Relying on income-assisted housing to keep a roof over their head. Meanwhile, no formal human resources department exists to mediate workplace and salary issues, or properly handle toxic bosses. Instead, employees are expected to conform to a culture of silence around bad behavior, despite Congress offering several resources for staff to utilize.

Capitol Hill staffers, who are paid starting in the $20,000s, work demanding jobs in one of the most expensive cities in the country. For years, advocates have pushed for Congress to raise their salaries so that talented aides seeking better pay didn’t head for the revolving door.

On August 12, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, announced that she was raising the salary cap for senior aides to $199,300. That mean’s they’ll finally be able to make more than rank-and-file members, who still earn $174,000 annually. Decoupling staffer pay from members’ salaries, so they could get paid more, is a move long sought by good government groups and advocates within Congress.

For several months, ahead of the Speaker’s announcement, Insider has covered Capitol Hill workplace and salary issues. Most recently, Insider asked current and former congressional staffers about how far their paychecks got them in Washington, DC. We received an outpouring of responses from staffers at all levels who felt compelled to speak up about what they considered a practice that hinders diversity, favors hires from privileged backgrounds, and drives talented minds to lobbying shops.

Their salaries ranged from $30,000 to $85,000 – but even the staffer on the higher end confessed that his entire paycheck gets eaten by childcare. You can read the full story here:

Be sure to check out Insider’s additional reporting on Capitol Hill workplace issues:

Do you have a tip about Capitol Hill workplace issues to share? Bad bosses, toxic offices, or questionable behavior toward congressional staffers? Email congresstips@insider.com, or message 1-202-567-7343 on Signal, and we’ll keep you anonymous.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to successfully negotiate for the job, salary, or work flexibility you want

salary negotiation
Focus on why the company needs you, not on what you want for yourself.

  • Victoria Medvec is a professor of management and organizations and the CEO of a consulting firm.
  • She says while negotiating can be intimidating, there are ways to stay in control and come out on top.
  • Set yourself apart, highlighting your unique professional qualities, and present suggestions in writing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Let’s say you’ve got a new job offer in hand, but you’re not thrilled with the salary. Or you’re angling for a promotion at work, but your manager doesn’t seem to be on the same page. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with too many projects and you want to adjust your workload. All of this calls for a negotiation.

Does that fill you with a bit of dread? If so, you’re not alone, explained Victoria Medvec, a professor of management and organizations at Kellogg and CEO of Medvec and Associates consulting firm.

“When we are negotiating for ourselves, we get really afraid. Even experienced negotiators tend to get really afraid,” she said. “So we want to unlock tools and strategies to help you have that conversation in a confident way.”

Medvec shared some of these tools and strategies, which come from her forthcoming book, “Negotiate Without Fear,” in a recent The Insightful Leader Live webinar.

Read more: 31 companies to know in the Amazon rollup space that specialize in snapping up third-party sellers and turning them into multimillion-dollar brands

Set yourself apart

To start with, make sure you’re staying laser focused on the other party’s needs, not your own. Think about being a “pronoun checker,” she said. If you’re saying “I” and “me” a whole lot, you’re not focusing on the right side.

“As I go into the negotiation, I have to have a compelling message and that message needs to focus on the company, not me,” Medvec said. “This is one of the hardest things for people to do when they’re negotiating for themselves. … Why? Because what I want is so salient to me.”

One way to translate your own wants into something that is salient to the other side is to think about your differentiators – what are the skills, qualities, and experiences that set you apart? Crucially, your differentiators need to be valuable to the person you’re negotiating with. If you’re fluent in Mandarin, but your company isn’t looking to do business in China, that’s not a differentiator in that context.

So how do you identify your differentiators? First of all, be confident that you have them. “I find differentiators in everyone I talk to,” Medvec said. “Everybody has unique capabilities, unique competencies, unique knowledge.”

Maybe your differentiator is that you’ve worked with a particular client for a long time and have a great relationship with them. Or you came from a competitor and therefore have unique business insights. Even things that may feel like a liability can yield differentiators, she said.

For example, if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, “be confident, because I doubt that you were out and did nothing that added to your differentiators,” she said. “Maybe it gave you persistence. Maybe it made you incredibly good at overcoming difficult challenges.”

Then, crucially, turn your differentiators into issues you can negotiate on. If one of your differentiators is that you’ve lived in Latin America, then explain how your understanding of the culture there will help you drive sales in that region. Or if your differentiator is that you came from a different industry and have a unique set of insights into your new industry, offer to do lunch-and-learns or briefings to senior leadership to share your knowledge with others.

Give them options

Medvec recommends going into a negotiation with multiple options for the other side. For example, if you’re negotiating for a promotion, the three options you present to your manager could have different titles and different pay, but also different project timelines and goals that are commensurate with those titles and pay. She suggests having these in writing, but showing them only after you’ve verbally conveyed the story about how you, uniquely, can address the other side’s needs.

“People love having choice,” she said. “They feel better having choice. And they’re going to react better to having choice.”

Medvec emphasizes that these tools can work in all sorts of negotiations, not just ones over pay or promotion.

For example, maybe you want to reduce your workload. First off, Medvec said, definitely negotiate on this instead of simply throwing up your hands and quitting. “I always tell people, never depart without a negotiation,” she said.

But remember your pronoun checker, and make sure you’re focusing on your employer’s needs. “It’s not about me being burned out,” she said. “It’s about the company having this challenge that needs more of my attention. And I don’t have the ability to focus on it right now because of this, this, and this. And we need to reorient so that I can give this an effective amount of time.”

Negotiate on your way out

She even advises that people use these strategies to negotiate on their way out of a job.

But what do you do if you have this negotiation sprung on you with no time to prepare? Stall, Medvec said.

Let’s say there’s a new CEO at your company, and you have a hunch they’re going to clean house a bit and hire their own new people. It’s Friday afternoon, and you suddenly have a meeting with the CEO, and you spot your HR rep in the room.

“As soon as they start the conversation, you just look overwhelmed. And you say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I have to go. We can pick this up on Monday,'” Medvec said. And you leave the room.

Then spend the weekend figuring out your differentiators and how you can help that CEO get what they want. “I need to think about how to leave in the best possible way,” Medvec said. “And I have to negotiate to get that.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

CEOs got paid 351 times what typical workers made in 2020

Fair Wage Demonstration Hiring Washington DC
Activists with One Fair Wage participate in a “Wage Strike” demonstration outside of the Old Ebbitt Grill restaurant on May 26th, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • A new report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute finds that CEO pay has ‘skyrocketed.’
  • Since 1978, CEO compensation has grown by 1,322%, with CEOs paid 351 times more than the typical worker.
  • But the average worker may now have growing power over wages and employment.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Over the past five decades, CEO pay has skyrocketed – but the average wage for workers hasn’t.

A new report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, authored by Lawrence Mishel and Jori Kandra, finds that CEO compensation has grown by 1,322% between 1978 and 2020.

In contrast, the report finds that the typical worker saw their compensation grow by just 18% during that time period.

As Insider’s Ben Winck and Andy Kiersz previously reported, wages have made up less and less of the country’s gross domestic product over the past five decades. As the economy grew, wages didn’t keep pace.

That could also be seen in the discrepancy between CEO and worker pay, which was 351-to-1 in 2020. While the authors note that the CEO to worker compensation ratio peaked in 2000 at 366-to-1, it’s still higher than any time from the 1960’s through the 1990’s.

They used a “realized” measure for compensation, which accounts for stock awards when they were vested, and stock options when they were cashed in. Under the “granted” measure, which values compensation plans based on when stock packages were granted, compensation was slightly lower.

Inequality between CEOs and everyone else even extends to the top. The report also looks at CEO compensation in comparison to the earnings of the top 0.1% of earners. The authors found that CEO compensation was 6.44 times higher than what those in the top 0.1% made in 2019, based on the most recently available tax data from the IRS.

“The CEOs are in a different stratosphere,” Mishel told Insider, adding: “It’s not just that the CEOs are so-called highly skilled or highly educated, they’ve done far better than the average earner who’s very highly skilled in the top one-thousandth, or very highly educated.”

Income and wealth inequality have gotten even more extreme during the pandemic as those at the top pull away from everyone else. The world’s richest people added $5 trillion to their wealth in 2020, according to the Forbes billionaire list. Forbes found that a record-high of 493 new billionaires joined their list in 2020. A March study from the left-leaning Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) found that America’s billionaires got 44% richer during the pandemic.

However, workers are gaining more power over wages and employment conditions in the red-hot labor market as the economy reopens.

Millions of workers are quitting their jobs as wages go up, and employers scramble to offer more in historically low-paying professions. Of course, millions of workers remain unemployed, and wages in industries like elder care are still considerably low, but it still marks substantial wage growth for America’s lowest-paid workforce.

Mishel said that he thinks unemployment will continue to drop substantially by the end of 2022.

“I think the pressure on employers to improve wages and benefits will continue,” Mishel said. He said that Biden administration policies addressing labor standards – like raising the minimum wage and improving collective bargaining – could also contribute to a greater shift.

“If those are able to be enacted it’ll reinforce a shift in power towards workers, which is something they desperately need – because they’ve been on the losing end for four decades.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Donald Trump did not appear to donate his salary from his last 6 months in office as promised, says report

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

  • Donald Trump promised to give away his presidential salary while in office.
  • The Washington Post was unable to account for his salary for his final 6 months.
  • Trump had become increasingly bitter about not receiving praise for donating his earnings.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It is unclear what Donald Trump did with his salary from his last 6 months in office, which he promised to donate, according to The Washington Post.

While in office Donald Trump pledged to give away all of his $400,000 annual presidential salary. For the first three and a half of his presidency, he donated the money to federal agencies.

The Washington Post said it surveyed all major federal agencies and none reported receiving anything from Trump after a gift in July 2020.

The paper said it could not account for the the last $220,000 of his salary.

During the campaign trail in 2015 Donald Trump said that he would not accept a presidential salary if elected. The Constitution does not allow a president to forgo a salary, so Trump chose to donate his earnings to federal agencies instead.

While in office he donated $100,000 quarterly payments to federal departments such as the Department of Veterans and the Department of Health and Human Services.

His last known gift was to the National Park Service on July 23, 2020, according to government documents.

Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold said that Trump had become increasingly bitter about not getting praise for donating his salary.

At a campaign rally in Arizona in October 2020 Trump said, “I’m the only president that did not accept a salary, which surprised me. It’s $450,000. The only reason I mention it is they never talk about it.”

Trump frequently claimed that no other president had ever refused their salary, which is untrue. Both Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy did the same.

Trump also got his salary amount wrong. The president receives $400,000 annually.

Despite donating his salary, Trump still continued to make money from his various businesses while in office. According to one review, Trump made $1.6 billion while he was president, meaning his donated salary accounted for 0.1% of his earnings.

The Washington Post clarified that their inability to account for his final 6 months of salary did not mean he definitely did not donate it. However, the lack of confirmation is unusual, and a marked difference from his first 3 and a half years in office.

The paper said it also asked Trump’s business, and the former lawyer who helped arrange the donations, about the money, and neither responded.

Trump continues to receive a presidential pension of more than $220,000 a year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Capitol Hill staffers divulge how low salaries shape their lives: taking second jobs, skipping groceries, seeking low income housing

Capitol Hill staffers
Congressional staffers sample entries at the annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition on Capitol Hill on April 09, 2019. Some staffers scout for free food at Hill events to save money.

  • 8 Capitol Hill staffers shared with Insider how they budget their monthly salaries.
  • Some staffers’ salaries were so low, they qualified for income-assisted housing.
  • This story is part of Insider’s continuing coverage of Capitol Hill as a workplace.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

They may walk the halls of Congress in neatly-pressed suits and help their bosses write important legislation, but their bank accounts tell a different story.

Entire paychecks eaten by day care expenses. Vending-machine ice cream for dinner. Hundreds of dollars going to a decade’s worth of credit-card debt. Relying on income-assisted housing to keep a roof over their head.

These are the real-life budgets of Capitol Hill staffers, who are paid starting in the $20,000s to work demanding jobs in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

As part of our coverage of Capitol Hill workplace issues, Insider asked current and former congressional staffers about how far their paychecks got them in Washington, DC. We received an outpouring of responses from staffers at all levels who felt compelled to speak up about what they considered a practice that hinders diversity, favors hires from privileged backgrounds, and drives talented minds to lobbying shops.

Their salaries ranged from $30,000 to $85,000 – but even the staffer on the higher end confessed that his entire paycheck gets eaten by childcare. You can read the full story here:

Be sure to check out Insider’s additional reporting on Capitol Hill workplace issues:

Do you have a tip about Capitol Hill workplace issues to share? Bad bosses, toxic offices, or questionable behavior toward congressional staffers? Email hillsalarydiaries@insider.com, or message 1-202-567-7343 on Signal, and we’ll keep you anonymous.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Capitol Hill staffers get real about budgeting on low pay: skipping groceries, surviving on vending machine ice cream and spending entire paychecks on childcare

Capitol Hill staffers
Congressional staffers sample entries at the annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition on Capitol Hill on April 09, 2019. Some staffers scout for free food at Hill events to save money.

  • 8 Capitol Hill staffers shared with Insider how they budget their monthly salaries.
  • Some staffers’ salaries were so low, they qualified for income-assisted housing.
  • This story is part of Insider’s continuing coverage of Capitol Hill as a workplace.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

They may walk the halls of Congress in neatly-pressed suits and help their bosses write important legislation, but their bank accounts tell a different story.

Entire paychecks eaten by day care expenses. Vending-machine ice cream for dinner. Hundreds of dollars going to a decade’s worth of credit-card debt. Relying on income-assisted housing to keep a roof over their head.

These are the real-life budgets of Capitol Hill staffers, who are paid starting in the $20,000s to work demanding jobs in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

As part of our coverage of Capitol Hill workplace issues, Insider asked current and former congressional staffers about how far their paychecks got them in Washington, DC. We received an outpouring of responses from staffers at all levels who felt compelled to speak up about what they considered a practice that hinders diversity, favors hires from privileged backgrounds, and drives talented minds to lobbying shops.

Their salaries ranged from $30,000 to $85,000 – but even the staffer on the higher end confessed that his entire paycheck gets eaten by childcare. You can read the full story here:

Be sure to check out Insider’s additional reporting on Capitol Hill workplace issues:

Do you have a tip about Capitol Hill workplace issues to share? Bad bosses, toxic offices, or questionable behavior toward congressional staffers? Email hillsalarydiaries@insider.com, or message 1-202-567-7343 on Signal, and we’ll keep you anonymous.

Read the original article on Business Insider

70% of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck, more than any other generation

millennial
Millennials paychecks’ are wearing thin.

Millennials’ wallets are rather skimpy.

Seventy percent of the generation said they’re living paycheck to paycheck, according to a new survey by PYMNTS and LendingClub, which analyzed economic data and census-balanced surveys of over 28,000 Americans. It found that about 54% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, but millennials had the biggest broke energy.

By contrast, 40% of baby boomers and seniors said they live paycheck to paycheck, the least of any generation. Living paycheck to paycheck reflects economic needs and wants just as much, if not more than, incomes or wealth levels, according to the report. Age and family status also factor in greatly. This explains why millennials, who turn ages 25 to 40 this year, are struggling.

“Millennials – especially older ones – are collectively at important stages of their lives,” the report reads. “They may be starting families or taking on their first major purchases, such as homes and new vehicles, but they may also be less advanced in their careers than their older counterparts.”

It doesn’t help that millennials have faced one economic challenge after another since the oldest of them graduated into the dismal job market of the 2008 financial crisis. A dozen years later, many are still grappling with the lingering effects of The Great Recession, struggling to build wealth while trying to afford soaring costs for things like housing and healthcare and shouldering the lion’s share of America’s student-loan debt.

The pandemic threw yet another wrench into their plans by giving them their second recession and second housing crisis before the age of 40. The report acknowledges that the pandemic played a major role in that stretched thin feeling.

“Living paycheck to paycheck sometimes carries connotations of barely scraping by and of poverty,” it states. “The reality of a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle in the United States today is much more complex, and the current economic environment has made it even more complicated.”

It’s left even six-figure earning millennials struggling to get by. The survey found that 60% of millennials raking in over $100,000 a year said they’re living paycheck to paycheck.

Of course, the economy isn’t fully to blame. Some millennials, particularly the six-figure earners, are known to fall victim to lifestyle creep, when one increases one’s standard of living to match a rise in discretionary income. This makes it more difficult to balance spending and savings habits.

But the report found that those who felt they were living paycheck to paycheck were mostly financially responsible. If they received additional sources of income during the year, many tucked it away rather than spent it.

It seems, then, that it’s a combination of external economic circumstances, a precarious life stage, and some spending habits that are leaving millennials feeling strapped for cash.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Walmart CEO Doug McMillon went from unloading Walmart trucks as a teenager to earning a $22 million salary

Doug McMillon Walmart CEO
Carl Douglas McMillon was born in 1966 in Memphis, Tennessee. When he was 16, his family moved to ‘the birthplace of Walmart’ – Bentonville, Arkansas. During the summer, McMillon worked at the Walmart distribution center unloading trucks.

Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas, the birthplace of Walmart.

After graduating from the local public high school, McMillon set off for The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He graduated in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. His Instagram bio “Husband. Father. Razorback. Gadget geek. Retail lifer. Proud Walmart associate,” nods to the university’s mascot, a razorback hog known as “Big Red.”

Doug McMillon yearbook picture
Doug McMillon University of Arkansas ’89 yearbook picture

The next year, McMillon enrolled in The University of Tulsa’s MBA program. While completing his studies, he started working in the athletic department of a local Walmart as a buyer trainee. Soon after, McMillon made the move to the Walmart headquarters back in his Arkansas hometown.

Doug McMillon

Source: Fortune

McMillon has worked across food, apparel, home furnishing, baby food, and more, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. He worked as a general merchandise manager at Sam’s Club (Walmart’s wholesale store) and climbed to a senior VP at Walmart overseeing toys, electronics, and sporting goods.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

In 2006, McMillon got his first truly high-profile job in the company, as CEO of Sam’s Club. According to The Wall Street Journal, that’s where he made his reputation by focusing on small-business owners.

sam's club

Source: The Wall Street Journal 

Under McMillon, Walmart brought its “everyday low prices” mantra to the rest of the world. International sales outpaced US sales, growing to 29% of the company’s total. This was just one accomplishment that led to his promotion to CEO in 2014.

Walmart

As CEO, McMillon has used his leadership skills beyond retail, seeking to make a positive impact on other social issues. He has been called one of the most ‘woke’ CEOs in the country and was determined ‘the most connected CEO’ by the Brunswick Group’s Connected Leaders Survey.

Doug McMillon Walmart CEO

In 2019, Walmart announced it would stop selling e-cigarettes after vaping-related lung injuries reached a total of 530 hospitalizations and eight deaths. That year, Walmart also announced it would limit the sales of guns and ammunition in the wake of two deadly shootings at Walmart stores in El Paso, Texas, and Southaven, Mississippi.

Doug McMillon CEO of Walmart
Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, during an interview with CNBC.

As chairman of Business Roundtable, a nonprofit that promotes business through public policy, McMillon hopes to make an impact on businesses beyond Walmart. The group made headlines in 2019 after announcing that ethics – not shareholders – is the driving force of successful business.

Doug McMillon participates in a Business Roundtable discussion on the"Future of Work in an Era of Automation and Artificial Intelligence", during a 2018 CEO Innovation Summit.
Doug McMillon participates in a Business Roundtable discussion on the”Future of Work in an Era of Automation and Artificial Intelligence”, during a 2018 CEO Innovation Summit.

Following the murder of George Floyd, McMillon condemned racial violence and pledged that Walmart would provide mentorship and funding to help advance racial equity. The company donated a total of $14 million to 16 different nonprofit organizations and set a goal to donate $100 million over five years to fight systemic racism.

doug mcmillon

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Walmart provided essential goods to low-income shoppers and helped strengthen vaccination efforts throughout the country. In 2020, McMillon also oversaw the launch of Walmart+, Walmart Connect, express delivery, and curbside pickup at Sam’s Club. This past February, McMillon urged Congress to pass another stimulus check, referencing Walmart spending data as proof that families need more money to buy essentials like groceries.

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Washington.
Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Washington.

“My optimism is higher than it was at the beginning of the year,” McMillon said on a post-earnings call last month. “In the US, economic stimulus is clearly having an impact.” McMillon’s optimism has the numbers to back it, with fiscal 2022 earnings expected to increase by high single digits.

Doug McMillon
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

Source: Reuters

Max Nissan contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden says he’ll increase the ‘ridiculously low’ pay of federal firefighters, who can sometimes make $20,000 less than state firefighters

california fires
Members of firefighters walk in line during a wildfire in Yucaipa, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.

President Joe Biden promised on Tuesday to increase the wages of federal firefighters across the country, who he said make “ridiculously low” wages while fighting deadly fires.

“The last few days alone, we’ve seen droughts and wildfires in the West,” said Biden. “I didn’t realize this, I have to admit – that federal firefighters get paid $13 an hour. That’s going to end in my administration.”

Federal firefighters are paid according to the Federal General Schedule payscale. Entry-level pay is determined by “the level of difficulty, responsibility, and qualifications required” by the job.

Starting salaries may take education level, military experience, and location into consideration, ranging from $19,738 to $48,978. New Jersey, California, Washington, New York, and Hawaii are the top-paying states for firefighters.

Nationwide, the average yearly salary for federal firefighters is approximately $55,000, with local firefighters making slightly more at around $57,500. In 2019, the U.S. median household income was $68,703.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a Forest Service firefighter’s starting salary is more than $20,000 less than the starting salary for Cal Fire firefighters, Senators wrote in a letter to Congress on Tuesday. This is despite the fact that the federal government manages a majority of California’s forest land.

In the letter, Senators wrote that while the annual wildfire season grows longer and more intense, agencies are struggling to hire and retain federal firefighters due to low pay. The proposed bill language would restructure the federal firefighter pay grade to be comparable to wildland firefighters employed by state and local governments.

In 2020, 70% of the nationwide acreage burned by wildfires was on federal lands.

The federal budget to pay firefighters comes through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI). Their combined wildfire management budget has nearly doubled over the past ten years, with a budget of $6.11 billion appropriated in 2020.

The 2021 wildfire season is estimated to exceed last year’s record number of fires. Biden will hold a meeting next week to discuss preparing the nation for heat, wildfires, and drought.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A social experiment shows women may be as likely as men to accept a gender pay gap if they benefit from it

business meeting
Most women still make $0.84 on the dollar of what men earn.

  • Marlon Williams is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Dayton.
  • In a recent experiment, he found women were as likely as men to vote against closing the pay gap when they earn more money.
  • Williams hopes this research will lead people to consider how self-interest may be driving their arguments.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The big idea

Women are just as inclined as men to vote against a policy to reduce a gender pay gap if they are personally benefiting from the status quo. This is one of the main findings of my new study, which was published in January 2021 in the journal Applied Economics Letters.

I conducted a series of laboratory experiments in which I recruited participants to do a 30-question quiz. The participants knew from the start that they would be paid based on the number of questions they answered correctly. In roughly half of the sessions, the quiz was written in a way to give men an advantage. I achieved this by choosing questions that were mainly on topics that surveys show men tend to be more interested in than women, such as sports and certain movie genres. The quiz for the other half of the sessions were designed in a similar way to give women an advantage.

In the version with a male bias, men answered an average of 21 questions correctly, while women answered only 13 right. This was meant to mimic the current real-world situation in which men, on average, earn more than women. The questions were carefully chosen so that the quiz that favored women had mirrored results: The average woman answered 21 correctly, the average man just 13.

Read more: I moved to the Alaskan Bush to become a teacher after COVID-19 ruined my plans. It’s wildly expensive, but I feel at home in my village of 270 people.

Three times at different stages of the experiment participants voted to either be paid $1 for every correct answer or to give the group that was at a disadvantage a leg up. If the second payment option won the majority vote, the disadvantaged participants would get $1.25 per right answer, while those who benefited from the biased test would receive just 85 cents.

In all three votes, which had similar results, I found that women were actually more likely than men to vote against the policy that would have led to a narrowing of the pay gap when they earned more money in the quiz. On average, 96.8% of women’s votes were against the proposed corrective payment policy when they were more likely to correctly answer the questions, compared with 90.5% of the men’s votes when they had the edge.

In addition, when women were at a disadvantage, they were more likely to vote in favor of the corrective policy, with 79.5% supporting it versus 73% for the men.

While social science laboratory experiments like mine cannot fully capture every nuance, I believe my qualitative results are similar to what we would find in the real world.

Why it matters

Debate over the gender pay gap can become quite heated.

The latest data from Pew Research Center show women make $0.84 on the dollar of what men earn – a gap that hasn’t changed much in recent years.

And surveys have found that men are more likely to oppose measures to correct this gap and even question whether the gap exists in the first place. A 2019 SurveyMonkey poll showed that 46% of men believe the gender pay gap “is made up to serve a political purpose” rather than a “legitimate issue.”

My research suggests women might feel the same if the positions were reversed. Additionally, it suggests that men would also likely be equally vociferous in calling for a narrowing of the gap if they found themselves in a world where they were holding the short end of the stick.

Ideally, I hope this research will lead people to reexamine the positions they hold on issues like this one and consider how self-interest may be driving their arguments. Maybe it can lead to more understanding and increase the focus in these debates on the available evidence.

What’s next

In my current and future work, I seek to experimentally determine people’s willingness to sacrifice personal financial gains in favor of an outcome that they see as serving the common good. This involves, for example, testing how much income the average employee or executive is willing to sacrifice to reduce income inequality.

Marlon Williams, assistant professor of economics, University of Dayton

The Conversation
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