Barack Obama and Joseph Biden are both fishing for the women’s vote – especially disenchanted Hillary Clinton feminists. Biden has insisted that Republicans, including Sarah Palin, represent a step backwards for women.
But when you look at the labor market data from the Census Bureau (as Professor Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago has in a new study), to figure out “the amount and reasons for women’s progress in the labor market since the 1960s” something very interesting is revealed. (Wall Street Journal 9/12/08).
In 1988, the last full year of Republican Ronald Reagan’s administration, wage growth for women working full-time throughout the year improved by 8.3% from the end of the Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter. “Johnson, Carter, and Clinton were all Democrats, yet none of them witnessed much labor-market progress for women during their administrations: eight years of Reagan, four years of George H.W. Bush, and six years of George W. Bush.” The Nixon-Ford administrations were the only Republican administrations that didn’t make it to this list of forward momentum for women.
In the Quarterly Journal of Economics, August, 2008, Professor Mulligan and Yona Rubenstein (from Brown University) calculated the statistics that showed women’s annual wage growth relative to men’s:
Under Republican administrations, women’s annual wage growth relative to men was .0.87% under George W. Bush, 1.4% under George H.W. Bush, and 1.6% under Ronald Reagon. Under Democratic administrations, women fared less well. Their annual wage growth relative to men was 0.21% under Bill Clinton, 0.04% under Jimmy Carter, and minus 1% under Lyndon Johnson.
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