Ramesh Ponnuru on How Labor Force Attachment Impacts Compensation

by Reihan Salam

It shouldn’t be too surprising that workers who have no interruptions in their labor force attachment over the life course tend to earn more than workers who do have interruptions in their labor force attachment. It could be that everyone should have the exact same patterns of attachment to the labor force, but of course we can’t know what is best for everyone — it is easy to imagine that many people have good reasons to, for example, prioritize household production over market production. We can also imagine bad reasons, including discrimination or pervasive social unfairness. But it might make more sense to tackle those discrete challenges rather than to declare that all differences in compensation across broad and diverse human groups are necessarily suspect. Ramesh Ponnuru explores this issues with great care in a new column for Bloomberg View