The Economics of Equal Opportunities

By Rodgers, Janine | International Labour Review, January 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

The Economics of Equal Opportunities


Rodgers, Janine, International Labour Review


Humphries, Jane; Rubery, Jill (eds.). The economics of equal opportunities. Manchester, Equal Opportunities Commission, 1995. xx + 436 pp. Tables, figures, subject index, author index. ISBN 1-870358-47-3.

The economics of equal opportunities is a collection of papers resulting from a project sponsored by the Equal Opportunities Commission in the United Kingdom. The 17 contributions presented in the book are a response to the ambitious aim of reconciling the theory and practice of economics. The authors examine the contribution of different economic schools of thought and methodologies on the persistence of gender-based inequalities in the labour market, and the appropriateness of government policies to reduce these gaps. The empirical evidence presented concerns primarily the United Kingdom, but various contributions adopt a wider, comparative perspective and refer to data from other industrialized countries. The issues are examined from various angles, since the authors come from a range of disciplines within the social sciences.

The book starts with a critical review by the editors of how gender is treated in economic theory and analysis. The general thrust of the argument is that the pursuit of equity is not necessarily incompatible with economic efficiency. Humphries and Rubery support the view that costs and benefits of equal opportunities policies need to be understood and analysed in a broader context, i.e. at several different economic levels (macro and micro, dynamic and static, social and private) for the structure and distribution of gains and losses to be mapped out. For them, the efficiency cost conclusion is based on the unrealistic assumption that labour markets are competitive. In models which recognize the importance of social and economic institutions and various noncompetitive features, equal opportunities policies need not compromise efficiency.

Institutional structures are acknowledged as playing a crucial role in the persistence of unequal opportunities. The contributors look at three key areas in particular: (i) the acquisition of skills and access to employment with their links to the training and education systems; (ii) occupational segregation whose implications for the economics of equal opportunities flow through its interaction with industrial organization and systems of pay determination; and (iii) the sphere of social reproduction, i.e. maintenance of workers, rearing children and caring for the elderly. The division of responsibilities for social reproduction is reflected in complex inter-relationships between the State, households and the labour market.

The first chapters review different theoretical frameworks. Sawyer discusses the effects of equal opportunities policies on the economy from the perspective of neoclassical and eclectic approaches to labour market analysis. Humphries first contrasts the feminist and economist approaches; then reviews new institutionalist economics; and finally discusses discrimination and inequality of opportunity within the neo-classical economics framework. Paci, Joshi and Makepeace explore the role of labour market conditions in setting differential rates of pay for men and women. They look at pay differentials attributable to productivity-related personal characteristics (human capital model) and at those not accounted for by human capital characteristics (unequal treatment). Grimshaw and Rubery introduce a gender perspective to the analysis of internal labour markets. They survey efficiency wage models and analyse internal organizational legitimacy through pay and jobgrading structure, promotion and payment systems.

Two papers look at the costs and benefits of equal opportunities to employers. Holterman surveys the quantitative evidence available on the costs to employers of providing conditions of employment which make it easier to combine work and family responsibilities. In a broader context, Bruegel and Perrons examine how the costs of equal opportunities policies shift from some individuals to others (women and families, taxpayers, firms) under a variety of arrangements.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Economics of Equal Opportunities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.