It’s relatively quiet on the Watch this quarter—a good time to catch up on things that have been slowly simmering as the weather gets warmer.
Let’s take up where we left off: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) proposal to require pay data on the annual EEO-1 reporting form. A public hearing was held with the expected results: the civil rights community praised the effort and the business community pointed out problems ranging from the usefulness of the information to the burden of reporting it. Technical comment has been minimal. However, Bronars, Blom, and King (2016) implemented a suggestion from critics-- that EEOC try out its methodology on available federal agency data. The authors noted that the pilot sponsored by EEOC explained data collection but did not consider the quality of the data. In their study, five agencies with the most significant gender pay gap were identified by the Mann-Whitney test mentioned by the EEOC. Using multiple regression and controlling for explanatory factors (age, age squared, tenure, tenure squared, education, and occupation), the authors came up with different rankings of gender pay disparity for the agencies; in one case, a 29% initial pay gap was entirely accounted for. The study indicated that the analyses were not thorough enough for conclusions on pay discrimination but were sufficient to show that a more detailed methodology would lead to conclusions different from methodology proposed by EEOC. The proposed pay categories were also criticized as being broader than the differences EEOC was trying to detect.