Living my life as an exclamation, not an explanation...


It should be noted by readers that Absinthe is not a lawyer, and anything posted in this blog should not be used as a substitute for professional advice from a lawyer

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  Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This morning in the news: the McCain campaign accuses Obama of paying his female senate staffers 83% the salary of his male staffers.

Is this true?  And is there pay equity in McCain's senate office?

Being the data-phile that I am, I looked up the senate staff salaries for McCain and Obama.

If you look at people in each data table who worked the full fiscal period (not just a portion) we have


                         women     men

                  N     25            20

median salary   $18000    $16600

mean salary      $23000    $19200   diff(women-men)=+0.8 standard deviations



                         women     men

                  N     27             21

median salary   $17500     $22100

mean salary      $21700     $27900    diff(women-men)= -1.6 standard deviations

The difference between the male and female salaries in the Obama office translates to a probability of only 6% that this disparity occured just by random chance under the null hypothesis of gender equity.  The Obama campaign contends that the disparities are simply due to there being more senior (and thus higher paid) male staffers than senior female staffers.  But if you take a look at the data table, you will see that many of the job titles make it difficult to discern the seniority levels.  Also, under the assumption of gender equity (and the assumption that McCain achieves it), why would Obama employ fractionally far fewer senior female staffers than McCain?

(As an aside, the pay for senate staffers sucks.)

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go crunch the numbers and see how my state senators measure up as far as pay equity in their offices goes (and if they don't measure up, they can expect an angry letter from at least one consituent...)


I checked the staff salaries of the two senators of my state and the Democrat (Bayh) had no statistically significant pay inequity among staffers, while the Republican (Lugar) had a gender discrepancy of -1.5 standard deviations (ie; about the same as Obama). 

I'll be sending Lugar a letter later today.

I checked Biden while I was at it, and found that he has no statistically significant pay inequity among staffers.

It is worth noting that all 5 of the senators I've looked at employ equal numbers of males and females (within the statistical error).

10:09:07 AM    comment []

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