Working Paper BETA #2018-43

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Title : John Stuart Mill on Wage Inequalities Between Men and Women

Author(s) : Virginie Gouverneur

Abstract : A section of Mill’s Principles (1848) is about women’s low wages. Contemporary commentators who have studied it minimize its normative content. According to them, Mill’s belief in the naturalness of the traditional sexual division of roles prevent him from proposing efficient remedies to male-female wage differentials and occupational segregation by sex. We propose another reading of Mill’s analysis, as a protest against power relations which, pervading Victorian society, cause wage differences unjustified by differences in efficiency. Its focus is not occupational segregation by sex. Mill addresses the issue elsewhere, then identifying distinct causes of women’s limited entry into skilled occupations.

Key-words : John Stuart Mill, gender pay gap, discrimination, occupational segregation by sex

JEL Classification : B1