Desert and Wages

Utilitas 8 (2):205-221 (1996)
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Women tend to earn less than their male colleagues. Furthermore, women tend to earn less than men who hold jobs that are nominally different but relevantly similar to their own. Advocates of ‘comparable worth’ protest these facts. Their protest sometimes takes this form: Those differences in pay between men and women are undeserved . The argument for this claim is simple. Some facts are relevant to the wage one deserves for performing a given job; some are not. In the vast majority of cases, the argument continues, gender is not relevant to the wage one deserves; relevant are, say, the skill, responsibility, and working conditions required by the job. When jobs are comparable with respect to these facts, those who work in them deserve equal pay. Therefore, women and men who work the very same jobs deserve equal pay; likewise for women and men whose jobs are nominally different but relevantly similar.



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Owen McLeod
Lafayette College

Citations of this work

Do People Deserve their Economic Rents?Thomas Mulligan - 2018 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 11 (2):163-190.
Do CEOS get Paid too much?Jeffrey Moriarty - 2005 - Business Ethics Quarterly 15 (2):257-281.
Desert.Owen McLeod - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Is discrimination wrong because it is undeserved?Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Against the asymmetry of desert.Jeffrey Moriarty - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):518–536.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Desert.George Sher - 1987 - Princeton University Press.
Egalitarianism and personal desert.Robert Young - 1992 - Ethics 102 (2):319-341.
How to justify a distribution of earnings.James C. Dick - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (3):248-272.
Desert, consent, and justice.Michael A. Slote - 1973 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (4):323-347.

View all 7 references / Add more references