Ms. Ellen on Mr. Willets

\”It\’s what Willetts calls \”assortative mating\”. \”That well-educated women marry well-educated men… You suddenly had two-earner couples, both of whom were well educated, compared with often workless households, where no one was educated. So I do personally think that the feminist revolution, in its first-round effects, was probably the key factor.\”\”

But the key factor in what?

Blindingly obviously, in the rise in inequality of household income. The difference between a one professional earner household and a one blue collar earning household is obviously going to be smaller than the difference between a two professional household and a two blue collar household.

The marriage habits haven\’t changed much: the bourgeois have always been marrying the bourgeois, the proletariat the proletariat and the lumpen proletariat the lumpen proletariat (when they bother of course).

What has changed is that the women in all the households now at least expect to work (or at least to try to) and thus the distance between the household incomes has risen and would have so risen even if absolutely nothing else at all had changed in society.

So, yes, he\’s right: frminism has led to at least some of the rising inequality in the UK.

Still a good thing of course, the economic emancipation of women, but as ever in economics there is no such thing as a solution, only trade offs.

5 thoughts on “Ms. Ellen on Mr. Willets”

  1. I’m amused at the fuss about his remarks on women and university admissions – it’s been part of the small change of conversations in universities for ages.

  2. But there’s also been changes which have affected blue collar working men, like the rise in automation. Automation has itself created new jobs, but they’re in fields which favour neither sex.

  3. Are we measuring this difference as an absolute value (A-B) or as a ratio (A/B)? They would give quite different results. In particular, the ratio shouldn’t change (all else being equal except the classes of the participants) whereas the difference would. It seems to me we ought to be looking at the ratio, not the difference.

  4. feminism seems to have provided many women careeers in ‘button shops’ and as a result they have to get other sort of women to look after their children.
    Good ?

  5. John, why button shops? I’ve never run across that metaphor before.
    As for getting other women to look after their children, isn’t this what the rich have mostly done for centuries?

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