Monday, June 25, 2007

Versus Market Forces: Triumph or Failure?

I had never heard of the Fawcett Society before today. This is not necessarily a bad thing - they have, almost certainly, never heard of me. (And, as my first thought on seeing the name was this rather than this - NSFL -, they probably never want to :)

They want el Gordo to "end the gender pay gap". Tim has had much to say about the realities of any actual gap and the proper analysis of the many statistics misused by the "pay women more" lobby. (He particularly recommends this article at the Adam Smith Institute.) Now, never mind the absurdity of trying to persuade the Great Clunking Fist of anything not sanctioned by the "Inner Thoughts" section of the fun police, especially as this would be likely to impact the public sector wage bill in a rather dramatic fashion, is their stress on Wimbledon justified? Let's not argue about the men being best of 5 sets and the ladies best of 3 (and there is sexism right there - why not "gentlemen" and "ladies" or "men" and "women"?) Let's look at the market prices.

Now the face values of the finals tickets seem to be the same for both finals - £27 to £62, apparently, (although this page shows a relatively mild 8.75% mark up for the men's final day tickets) - so let's try "Google is your friend" to find a real market price:

Tout AgencyMen's FinalMen's SemiLadies' FinalLadies' Semi


That seems to suggest that paying the guys 75 to 80% more than the dolls (now that is an interesting statement to analyse from the sexism p.o.v.) in prize money would be justifiable under free market conditions - and either the second place lad (or the losing semi-finalists - I am not clear on this) a whopping 2 1/2 times more than the comparable lass. I do appreciate that the hospitality ticket market for a major sporting event isn't a perfectly free market (as the All England Club try hard to prevent this) so my numbers will not be perfect but can we at least consider them as potentially representative.

Now, I am actually not bothered how much money some, already extremely rich, sports men and women make (especially as the prize money is probably small beer compared to their earnings from sponsorship, advertising and endorsements) - but I am bothered when pressure groups and politicians use this sort of flawed comparison to whine about or meddle with things that directly effect the lives of real people.



Bag said...

Not trying to be picky but the picture of the bionic woman is in fact Lyndsey Wagner. I would guess you are thinking of Farrah Fawcett who was married to Lee Majors,the 6M$ man at one point.

Anyway I've always been annoyed about the tennis as yet another example of we are all equal until it comes time to screw the,in this case, men. They deserve it.

They should scrap all the different sex matches and then let the women earn their money fair and square.

Surreptitious Evil said...

I said it was my first thought, I didn't say it was good one or that I was right :)

So here is a picture of the correct lady.


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