A horrendous own goal

June 24th, 2011 at 11:14 am by David Farrar

The original comments by were unwise and stupid (and I will detail why further down) but his dual performances on are the stuff legends, or nightmares, are made of.

Watch his interview with Rachel Morton and then with Mihi Forbes.  I don’t think I have ever seen such sheer awfulness before. Lew at Kiwipolitico has done an initial list of 10 things the EMA did wrong.

This has gone from just being an issue about Alasdair to an issue about the . I can imagine employers all over Auckland quietly removing from their office walls their certificate of membership before anyone notices it. They’d be embarrassed to be associated with the last 24 hours.

This may have been the most effective brand destruction we have seen since Wellington Airport tried to rename Wellington into Wellywood, or the CTU declared war on hobbits.

Before we come back to the interviews let’s focus on the substance of the issue, as a couple of people think this is just about political correctness – far from it.The issue is why do women on average get paid less than men.

Now I do not think the gap between the average hourly rate for men and women is due to discrimination. Sure there may be the odd employer who is an old bigot (and they generally are old) and actually thinks women are inferior. But they are dying out.

Part of the gap is because men and women tend towards different jobs. More men are police officers and more women are teachers for example and police officers get paid more on average. But that doesn’t explain all the difference as there is a gap within professions also. On average male lawyers get paid more than female lawyers and male teachers more than female teachers.

There are a couple of factors at play here. One is historic – until 20 years ago men far outnumbered women at university in the high paying professions such as law, medicine etc. So most of the senior ranks are still men. Fortunately at entry level the numbers are now more balanced, so over time the gender mix may get more balanced at the senior or higher paying levels.

The other factor (which Alasdair correctly pointed out) is that more woman than men take a break from the workforce to be the primary caregiver, and when they return are more likely to be part-time so prospects for advancement are not so good as the person who has stayed working full-time throughout.

Even this doesn’t fully explain the gender gap, as there has been a recent study that even early on in a profession, men are being paid more than women. Now one has to be careful about a study over a profession, rather than just one employer, as differences between employers may account for the gap. However if one accepts the study at face value, a possible answer is that generally younger men are more assertive than younger women in pushing for pay rises and generally in salary negotiations.

So I tend to reject the thesis that women get paid less because evil employers discriminate against women and think they are inferior.

The possible factors I have laid out above are all about individual choice. You may choose to enter a less well remunerated profession, because it isn’t just about the money. You may choose to take a break from the work-force. You may choose not to be aggressive in your pay negotiations and take whatever is initially offered. These are all individual choices. Sure there are issues around societal expectations, but that is a debate for another day.

But here is why what Alasdair Thompson said is so stupid and counter-productive. he listed something women have no choice over (having a menstrual cycle) and cited it as a reason why women get paid less. He basically said that women are less productive because they are women. It undermined all his other (generally sound) arguments.

This reinforced every prejudice unions and others have about employers – and worse this comes from the head of EMA Northern.

And I can only imagine how women feel, to have to put up with having a menstrual cycle is I suspect bad enough by itself, so to have some employer bigwig come out and say oh yeah and your monthly cycle is also why you get paid less would be beyond infuriating.

It is possible of course that some women do have a high use of sick leave due to their menstrual cycle. But I do not believe, and have not seen a shred of evidence in support, the notion that the prevalence of this is significant enough to actually affect average pay rates.

Now the original comments by Alasdair were survivable. All he had to do was to say something along the lines of “A couple of employers had anecdotally mentioned to me this was an issue for them, but I was quite wrong to link it to average pay rates between genders as it is not a factor, and I apologise for mentioning it in the interview”.

But instead we got the Tv3 interviews where he could not have made a worse impression of himself. If could invent a wicked caricature of an employers boss, she couldn’t have done better than what we saw. Rambling justifications, instructions to the cameraman as if he was the producer, demanding no interruptions, walking out, patronising the female reporters, constantly referring to his own staff members in a way which I found demeaning, standing over and angrily remonstrating with her, calling her a liar, demanding previous footage be declared off the record retrospectively and the list just goes on.

I don’t know how professional media trainers like Brian Edwards, Judy Callaghan, Bill Ralston and Janet Wilson even managed to watch a few minutes of the video without their heads exploding in despair that someone could come across so badly in what is meant to be a damage control setting.

EMA Northern need to consider what they have to do to repair the damage. My only advice is that it does not involve Alasdair doing another round of TV interviews.

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140 Responses to “A horrendous own goal”

  1. Nick R (507 comments) says:

    Perceptions about NZ employers won’t just be influenced by Thompson’s meltdown. They will also be influenced by how Thompson is treated by the EMA itself and by other stakeholders – including the Government and the media. If the dust dies down and Thompson is allowed to carry on as before after making a Claytons “I’m sorry if you were offended” apology, then we will pretty much know that he has the tacit support of the EMA’s Board and members etc.

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  2. Andrei (2,651 comments) says:

    What he said was the truth, albeit it clumsily and sensible people recognize that.

    In truth the feminist harridans have used his clumsy elocution to distract from the fundamental truth expressed and seek to use it to their advantage.

    sigh

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  3. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    When you shoot your mouth off without thinking, as Alasdair Thompson has, you completely sacrifice your credibility in the public arena and amongest your colleagues and the organisation you represent. The only course of action to restore confidence is for Alasdair to resign.

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  4. Positan (390 comments) says:

    David, the issue has been blown out of all proportion from what Thompson originally said – and I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with your view of the Forbes interview. She pissed Thompson off – clearly he ended the interview – but she managed to sting him into continuing. Her attempt to secure his resignation was utterly disgraceful – it had nothing to do with her, her rights or her job. I think I’d have dropped the woman had she suggested such to me. Thompson should have been commended for his restraint.

    My judgment for these idiotic times in which we live? Never, never, never grant Campbell, Sainsbury or in fact any “media” person an interview. The spin will be their own and you’ll have gained absolutely nothing but potential problems for having endeavoured to enlighten them.

    We are a truly sick society. Those who contribute nothing to our development, yet supposedly convey “news” of the ones who are the “developers,” on whom we DO rely, apparently now determine our direction and the substance of our lifestyle.

    For God’s sake … !!!

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  5. Rodders (1,755 comments) says:

    andrei @ 11.38am said “feminist harridans…”

    (sigh)

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  6. Nookin (3,341 comments) says:

    “She pissed Thompson off – clearly he ended the interview – but she managed to sting him into continuing. Her attempt to secure his resignation was utterly disgraceful – it had nothing to do with her, her rights or her job. I think I’d have dropped the woman had she suggested such to me. Thompson should have been commended for his restraint.”
    Any level thinking representative would have known that the original comments would excite this reaction. So, why be so dumb as to provoke it?
    His credibility is gone and he needs to go as well.

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  7. Pete George (23,561 comments) says:

    What he said was the truth, albeit it clumsily and sensible people recognize that.

    What he said initially had some validity if included with a whole lot of other factors, but it nedn’t have been a bad mistake. But Andrei it went downhill from there radidly. I heard him with Mary Wilson after 5pm and waffled around and didn’t do anything to recover but it was poor rather than job threatening.

    It got much worse from there, I only saw a bit of the TV3 “interview” but it was pretty bad, and it sounds like the whole thing was much worse.

    I think we have just seen a public train wreck.

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  8. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    I am sure that there are some women who do take sick leave at that time of the month, as there are some conditions that make parts of the cycle sheer agony, such as endometriosis, but the majority of women regard it as just something to deal with.

    But for Thompson to say what he did, when he said it, makes his continuance in the role untenable. He has done a disservice to his members and should piss off.

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  9. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    There are studies that actually support this: NBR has just now highlighted one piece of this: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/thompson-has-no-plans-resign-over-period-drama-ck-95867

    Yes, he was a clumsy dolt, but jesus, the OTT reaction is stunning. What next, put the poor bastard in stocks and pelt him with fruit? To me it highlights the fact that we really cant have grown up conversations in this country, which is actually pretty bloody pathetic.

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  10. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Daft comments in the first place. Already been well covered in KB, so no sense in regurgitating them here – but regardless whether he has the numbers to support his claims or not, daft comments they were. Fail.

    The attempt to subsequently justify his earlier comments, was equally daft. Best course of action would have been to shut up. No Press releases / no follow up interviews. Nothing. Once in a hole, he should have stopped digging deeper. Fail again.

    But then he does a formal TV interview in which he proves that he seriously lacks basic media skills. Anyone with half a brain would know that, the minute a TV crew arrives on the premises, the camera is rolling and sound is being recorded. To think that anything was ‘off camera” is totally naive. Media training 101. Another Fail.

    Thompson should also know that, with any media interview, there is always the opportunity for (key) pieces of the interview to be editorially removed. There is no ‘context’ in media interviews – and any competent manager should have remembered this in advance of entering the room. Fail yet again.

    Thompson should also have realised that the ‘interviewer’ was there to inflame his earlier comments. Forbes isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but Thompson handed himself to her on a platter.

    But then for Thompson to try and belittle the repeater because things weren’t panning out as he wanted, demonstrates that he lacks many of the attributes he advocates.

    Epic Fail.

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  11. Positan (390 comments) says:

    re Nookin “His credibility is gone and he needs to go as well.”

    So we just get someone else to take over his job? Aren’t you making the same mistake as all the others – that his performance on radio/TV is indicative of his performance in his REAL JOB?

    The wondrous decisions evidenced by this TV educated generation! However, one thing IS for sure – by the time the PC-impractical bunch get to run things, there won’t be anything left to run.

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  12. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    Train wreck TV at its finest. Thompson is usually quite media-savvy, this was a disastrous melt-down (and no excuses for the guy, his comments were generally appalling)

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  13. flipper (4,060 comments) says:

    DPF…..
    Please, keep your knickers on.
    AlisdaIR tHOMSON MAY NOT PLEase you nor me.
    But he telkls it lkike it is.
    The REAL problerm NZ has at the moiment is that the POC crap has iunculcaTED EVEN aPPArently sensible folks likme you.
    LET IT GO.

    If he hasx over stepped (or mDE A false start, sxo to speAK) so be ity.

    But he mkes A vAIUD PPOINT.

    As A downtrodden mAle I often wonder where the media and their fellow travellers will ever come to my gender’s aid.

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  14. Rodders (1,755 comments) says:

    When someone puts up the “I haven’t had enough sleep” excuse (as he did), then they had lost it. A qualified apology is worse than useless.

    Also, is flipper’s post @12.04 an attempt at humour?

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  15. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Geez Flipper – did you have an early lunch today?

    :)

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  16. smttc (752 comments) says:

    Politicians and “go to” PR people like Thompson should never make gratuitious comments to the media. The lefties and the media just end up hanging off every word and use those comments to go into attack mode and distract from the real issues.

    John Key made this mistake (again) the other day by volunteering to the Australian (or was it the Melbourne Age?) that the Pike River mine would have been illegal in Australia. Now Labour are banging on via the MSM calling for law changes before the C of I has even heard all the evidence. He should have just shut his mouth and kept it to himself.

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  17. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    I expect he’ll be sweating like a rapist.

    Elaycee – looks like flipper is still at lunch from yesterday.

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  18. flipper (4,060 comments) says:

    Elaycee..
    Got ambushed by a Burmese cat who did the proverbial cats paw on me. Bugger.. and apols.

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  19. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    He sounded Australian to me. Please let him be Australian…

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  20. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Every real man in NZ knows it to be true. Get over you it lefties.
    As usual its the lefties who don’t like sticking to the truth.

    Men have other issues but men don’t get bitchy, well not real men, the other brothers often do just like women.

    Real life in the workplace.
    Well any place but the Television deptarments of this “Woody Allen” type depressed country.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10734004

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  21. Inventory2 (10,339 comments) says:

    @ Elaycee – I was thinking “liquid lunch” ;-)

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  22. lyndon (325 comments) says:

    FYI someone from the Auckland business school is working on the basis that a woman with family commitments doesn’t do less work, but has fewer networking opportunities.

    I don’t personally think DPF’s analysis of the pay issue is adequate but I’m not actually game to argue it so I’ll just sign off.

    Yours,
    Feminist Harridan.

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  23. Rodders (1,755 comments) says:

    Viking2 @ 12.19pm – Thank you for your Speech from the Throne.

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  24. Pete George (23,561 comments) says:

    As usual its the lefties who don’t like sticking to the truth.

    Like, that Thompson ballsed up big time? It’s hard to deny that truth.

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  25. georgebolwing (853 comments) says:

    Being the official spokesman of employers IS Thompson’s job. He should get a performance rating of minus several hundred out of ten and the sack.

    Kiwipolitico’s analysis is spot-on. Any half competent official spokesman of a major organisation would have seen all the problems coming and stopped them.

    I notice that at one point during the interview with Mihi Forbes, Thompson did ask someone off camera a question, meaning that he had a minder of some sort with him. If they were his media adviser, they should also also get a performance rating of minus several hundred out of ten and the sack. When you are seeing a train wreck happening in front of you, and this was a train wreck of massive proportions, then you have to step in and stop it. As it was not live, the minder could have pulled the old tricks of “accidentally” bumping the camera, fainting, farting: anything that would have allowed them to say, “Oh, I’m so sorry. Let’s just stop the camera and go to take two. And why we’re at it, Alistair, can I have a word”, at which point you take him out of the room and I don’t know what. Kill him. Tell him that his mother just died and he has to leave the building now, while the minder goes and tries to recover the situation.

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  26. tom hunter (4,838 comments) says:

    Setting aside the moronity of his comments and his media training (are we sure he ever had any?) there are some other lessons to draw here:

    …. with any media interview, there is always the opportunity for (key) pieces of the interview to be editorially removed. There is no ‘context’ in media interviews ….

    Given the cheapness of video equipment nowadays every person who has to deal with the media should have somebody there recording the whole thing to prevent the editing bullshit. If they want to play nasty on the cutting room floor you at least have your own backup and the ability to get it out via YouTube. It’s not equal to broadcast TV and radio – yet. But it’s getting there and even the threat of demonstrating the false narrative could have an effect on media honesty.

    So we just get someone else to take over his job? Aren’t you making the same mistake as all the others – that his performance on radio/TV is indicative of his performance in his REAL JOB?

    In order:
    Yes
    No – you’re missing the point here. Of course people are taking this interview as indicative of his performance in his real job – that is what radio/TV does.

    We can bemoan the sad fact of a TV educated generation producing this result – and I can agree with you entirely on the shallowness and stupidity it has engendered, with the media themselves in the pursuit of simple-minded storylines and shallow coverage and soundbites as much as the audience.

    But the objective of any representative of non-left groups should be to be aware of that and not get screwed over by that standard narrative ploy. It was his duty, his fucking job, not to allow the debate framing exercise to become indicative not only of “who he really is” but who the EMA is and thereby make Helen Kelly’s goals that much easier to achieve. Look what spin they are already developing from this today?

    And although it will be seen as a sop to the left I have to agree with those who say that if this is an example of the sort of business leadership we have in this country then it may be part of the explanation as to why our economy has not moved forward sufficiently in recent decades.

    As has been said: Epic fail – and not just because of any personal repercussions that may befall the idiot. Epic fail on behalf of business and capitalism.

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  27. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Covered himself in glory!

    But the NBR has this article
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/thompson-has-no-plans-resign-over-period-drama-ck-95867

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  28. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    I seem to recall a comment from the head of one of our medical schools that if we only trained female doctors we would have to train 1/3 more, simply because statistically women take more time out of the workforce to raise children.

    I wonder if that fellow would repeat his assertions, and if he did what reception they’d get?

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  29. tom hunter (4,838 comments) says:

    I should add a caveat to my suggestion of recording the whole interview yourself – it does not work if you’re so much of an idiot that leaving in the uncut video is what makes you look awful.

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  30. Rodders (1,755 comments) says:

    scrubone @ 12.48pm – women don’t take maternity leave “monthly”

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  31. Mark Thomson (81 comments) says:

    FYI, an interesting article on the substantive issue – http://bit.ly/hTRTMm

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  32. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Get over it. Ive employed more women and man since 1973 that most have had hot dinners. In my experience woman have taken more time off than men.

    For am employer if you have to pay a days sick pay and then get a temp from an agency who wont know the job as well as the permanent employee the result will be at best a breakeven or a loss for that day.

    Because most are employees not employer they dont give a shit as per the moronic comments here. AT was telling it like it is and in this small minded feminazi socialist country telling the truth is not allowed unless those receiving the message agree with it.

    Free seppch is dead and buried in thsi country and this example proves.

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  33. cabbage (455 comments) says:

    Free seppch is dead and buried in thsi country and this example proves.

    No, this example proves that the head of the northern branch of the EMA is a prize twat. This whole issue has now transcended his original comments.

    IMO his comments were fine.

    His behaviour however…

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  34. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Thompson should worry about EMA sacking him. If I were him I’d protect myself by joining one of Kelly’s unions.

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  35. Cobolt (93 comments) says:

    Is Alasdair our own Donald Trump?

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  36. Raging Glory (45 comments) says:

    Nobody – nobody – can be permitted to get away with telling the truth in NZ today.

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  37. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Thompson’s comments were idiotic, his defence has been tragic and his sorry misguided views are plain wrong.

    If the EMA want to retain any credibility, they’ll sack him. Frankly, the fact that he’s not resigned is further evidence he’s out of his depth at this level.

    BusinessNZ don’t need this clown dilluting their influence – in my dealings, albeit some time ago, BusinessNZ was a very sensible and constructive lobby group. I mightn’t have agreed with them all the time but they were reasonable. Thompson’s attitudes and approach are the last thing they need.

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  38. kingofthejuice (6,137 comments) says:

    There’s an easy ‘out’ for EMA Northern. Sack Thompson and issue a statement distancing themselves from his, shall we say, injudicious utterances. Then, appoint a woman to replace him.

    I agree for the most part with Mr Farrar’s above statement, apart from his assertion that Janet Wilson et al will be dismayed at his performance. I expect they’d be rubbing their hands together with glee and setting up triage as we speak. Also, it always makes me smile when libertarians start talking about ‘choice’.

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  39. Pete George (23,561 comments) says:

    The Poitico post was very interesting, especially this bit:

    Thompson began both TV3 interviews by explaining that he had been out late the night before, and most nights this week, and had been up early. He explained that he had agreed to record the interview early but had slept in and been woken by the phone call from Hosking’s studio — presumably by way of explaining his poor temper and disjointed arguments.

    None of that would have been very relevant, except that he was admitting culpability for the very thing he was criticising women for — other responsibilities getting in the way of his work. This was particularly ironic given that one of the noted causes of absenteeism among men is being hung-over, and that one of the engagements he had been at was a monthly meeting.

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  40. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Can we sum this up under two headings?

    2. Women earn, on average, less than men. Women appear, from some studies cited here, to take more sickleave then men. There are several reasons for this disparity. Straight out discrimination has almost disappeared, and is illegal anyway. Women are catching up quickly from the historical educational disadvantage. Other factors, such as traditinal sterotypes of male and female jobs, are also diminishing over time.

    1. Thompson was a pratt. Even if he believed his nonsense, he shouldn’t have said what he did. His further utterances just dug a deeper hole forhimself. If he had stuck to actual reasons, rather than his imagination he’d be having a nicer Friday.

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  41. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    And Im sick to death of these wet behind the ears young female reporters who think its smart to take an aggressive condesending line when interviewing older males.

    They need to be put in their place and told manners cost nothing. They display an arrogant attitude thats uncalled for but is hillarious to watch considering their lack of life experience.

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  42. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    kingofthejuice (6) Says:
    June 24th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    There’s an easy ‘out’ for EMA Northern. Sack Thompson and issue a statement distancing themselves from his, shall we say, injudicious utterances. Then, appoint a woman to replace him.

    Gee, that really helps with the perception that women are appointed by merit and not say, sexist purposes?

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  43. lyndon (325 comments) says:

    Thompson did ask someone off camera a question, meaning that he had a minder of some sort with him.

    The TV3 cameraman, I think. Apparently didn’t use his actual name. Smooth, huh.

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  44. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    DPF: It is possible of course that some women do have a high use of sick leave due to their menstrual cycle. But I do not believe, and have not seen a shred of evidence in support, the notion that the prevalence of this is significant enough to actually affect average pay rates.

    Well, from another woman I got this, taken from Women Take Almost 50 Percent More Short-Term Sick Leave Than Men:

    To investigate the effect of absenteeism on earnings, we use a simple signaling model in which employers cannot directly observe workers’ productivity, and therefore use observable characteristics – including absenteeism – to set wages. Since men are absent from work because of health and shirking reasons, while women face an additional exogenous source of health shocks due to menstruation, the signal extraction based on absenteeism is more informative about shirking for males than for females. Consistent with the predictions of the model, we find that the relationship between earnings and absenteeism is more negative for males than for females. Furthermore, this difference declines with seniority, as employers learn more about their workers’ true productivity. Finally, we calculate the earnings cost for women associated with menstruation. We find that higher absenteeism induced by the 28-day cycle explains 11.8 percent of the earnings gender differential.

    You’re the statistician DPF, is this good enough?

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  45. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    berend

    So, according to that study, menstruation will account for a small percentage of the difference in pay. Other factors, therefore, will be much more relevant. What was the explanation for the other 88.2% of the difference?

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  46. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    I would like to make one comment: Alasdair Thompson should resign with the same speed as Darren Hughes resigned.

    I.e. never.

    I’m not going to throw him under the bus for one comment.

    Obviously the PC police will be going on about this for quite a while, and you she already the National Party hunkering and shivering as the castigations go over them. They got no spine, and they will throw anyone under the bus who raises the ire of the PC police.

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  47. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    mikenmild, I took this as that it is the biggest factor, all the other factors are smaller. But I’m waiting for DPF, he says he has never seen anything on this, so wonder what his take will be.

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  48. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    “Part of the gap is because men and women tend towards different jobs.”

    Actually Mallard Fillmore (the cartoon) made a lot of hay out of a US study that found that, once you looked at people in the same jobs, women were actually paid *more*.

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  49. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    Mikemild
    Women have more than been “catching up quickly” in the education stakes; in this country at least, they have outnumbered men at universities for some years now, and girls overtook boys in High School education quite some time ago. It’s been a growing cause of concern in fact.

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  50. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    David, you’ve distorted what Thompson actually said. “He basically said that women are less productive because they are women.” He didn’t say that. He said “some” women were less productive because they took more sickies. And based on overseas research, he appears to be correct becuase it appears that women do indeed take more sickies.

    As for Mihi Forbes’ intereview, it wasn’t one of her better efforts. She was arguing with him. A journalist should never argue.

    There’s a serious debate to be had, to be sure, but it centres on why women appear to take more sickies than men.

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  51. Sarkozygroupie (207 comments) says:

    Sick leave is provided by law and is available to take no matter what the reason. Some employers have fixed; some unlimited. Some people – both men and women- have recurring health complaints necessitating they take their leave entitlement each year.

    How does the reason (migraine, menstruation, prostate cancer, toothache etc etc) then impact on parity? Should it?

    (Incidentally I never thought of my reproductive system as a cause for sickness before – this is not disease model).

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  52. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    “…menstruation will account for a small percentage of the difference in pay…”

    Was Thompson suggesting otherwise? I think you’ll find he wasn’t saying that menstruation is the biggest factor in pay differences but that it is a factor. Research backs this up. Of course it might be hard to hear that over the hysteria that has erupted.

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  53. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    So you spend half your blogging life slagging of teachers unions because they don’t pay on performance and then you state “and male teachers(earn) more than female teachers. Of course they don’t they earn exactly the same.

    Lets get this clear woman take more sick days because they are more likely to take the day off to look after the kids than men. It’s good that they do this. They are kids they are looking after. We want a society don’t we where children are cared for? If it was your child who was sick and you got a call from school to pick them up wouldn’t you want to go and do it? Shouldn’t your employer be sympathetic around this? Of course they should and any decent person wouldn’t mind this from time to time. Now if an employee is abusing the privilege then that is what dialogue and discussion is for. Thompson is a dick and should go tomorrow, a dinosaur, an embarrassment.

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  54. georgebolwing (853 comments) says:

    mikenmild at 1:32 pm.

    If Thompson had simply said your point 2, then point 1 would not have occurred.

    This is the great shame here, as pointed out in DPF’s heading; it was an own goal, a self-inflicted wound.

    He was supposed to be discussing a silly Green’s Bill to require employers to increase record keeping and allow employees access to those records. Remember that? No. I suspect no-one else does. Good one Al: who have almost guaranteed that the Bill will be passed with near-universal support, since National will not want to be associated with your comments.

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  55. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    # lastmanstanding (493) Says:
    June 24th, 2011 at 1:45 pm
    And Im sick to death of these wet behind the ears young female reporters who think its smart to take an aggressive condesending line when interviewing older males.
    They need to be put in their place and told manners cost nothing. They display an arrogant attitude thats uncalled for but is hillarious to watch considering their lack of life experience.”

    Mihi Forbes has around 15-16 years experience as a journalist, has 3 kids, I dont know exactly how old she is but I’d wager she’d be at the far end of 30. In my book that is a reasonable amount of life experience, and neither would I put her the “wet behind the ears” category.

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  56. kingofthejuice (6,137 comments) says:

    Given that a man is more likely to be an alcoholic or drug abuser, more likely to be accidentally injured, more likely to be the victim or perpetrator of violent crime, more likely to be up late commenting on blogs, how would these factors impact on male workplace absenteeism? (BTW, I can’t back up these assertions ’cause they came off the top of my head)

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  57. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    “ross (665) Says:
    June 24th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    As for Mihi Forbes’ intereview, it wasn’t one of her better efforts. She was arguing with him. A journalist should never argue.”

    Ross, virtually all that 27 minute interview was taken up by Thompson, Forbes probably had less than 4 minutes all up.
    Not even sure I’d call it an interview anyway, seemed more like an early episode of “The Office” !!

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  58. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    Both interviews seem realistic and accurate to me. He gave his opinion clearly, I can’t see why the comments he made offended so many. His main argument was that pay should be in ratio to productivity irrespective of sex, how can you argue with that… He should how-ever learn from the re-action to his plain speaking and employ a ‘Press Representative who could speak for him in meaningless waffly cliches which mean nothing but are nonetheless acceptable and in keeping with the general trend in our society.

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  59. wreck1080 (3,912 comments) says:

    he he , the interview was bad.

    I think he was panicking.

    There are certain arguments you cannot win regardless of truth.

    Another such argument is that intelligence is genetically passed on. While true, you can never win this argument either. (people readily accept that sporting ability is genetic, but not so with intellectual ability).

    Menstruation is certainly not a topic any male should care to argue.

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  60. Pete George (23,561 comments) says:

    Thompson apologises for remarks – again.

    Embattled employers association chief Alasdair Thompson has issued an “unreserved and unqualified” apology for suggesting women’s periods affect their productivity in the workforce.

    An initial discussion on women in the workforce disintegrated into facile observations that did a disservice to a very serious matter, he said.

    “I apologise for my poor choice of words and bad judgment during the discussion about gender and productivity in the workplace.

    “I raised issues that were misplaced and irrelevant to the discussion.

    “I realise my remarks offended many people.”

    It might be a bit late after a bit much bluster though.

    EMA board chair Graham Mountfort had called the meeting to discuss Mr Thompson’s comments.

    Board member Laurie Margrain said he expected the board members to act “decisively and robustly”.

    He had already received two calls from major corporate members of the EMA, who spoke out against Mr Thompson’s comments.

    “I was certainly left with no illusions as to how they feel. They feel very similar to myself.

    “Considerable considerations have to be given to major corporate who are members.

    “This is not a matter that can be left to die a natural death.”

    Mr Margrain would not reveal the identity of the major corporates who had spoken out.

    He last night told the Herald what Mr Thompson said was indefensible – “totally out of call, completely inappropriate and certainly inaccurate”.

    wreck1080: Menstruation is certainly not a topic any male should care to argue.

    Especially at certain times of the month?

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  61. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    It was a terrible presentation really – he was totally unprepared. Forbes made him look like a prize c**t without even trying. I cringed when he started using actual staff members from his workplace as part of the discussion. Yikes.

    I’m really interested though in the answer he refused to give – if someone is really sick with period pain and can’t come in to work – are they expected to be honest about why they can’t come in, or is it ok to give a generic excuse and save everyone the uncomfortableness?

    Personally, I’d feel well uncomfortable talking about rag issues with an employee – that’s well over the boundary of things I’d want or need to know about.

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  62. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    http://www.abc.net.au

    Friday, February 11, 2005. 9:45am

    Unions seek ‘menstrual leave’ for Toyota workers

    Unions say they are negotiating a landmark industrial relations claim to allow women to take extra sick leave for menstrual pain.

    The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) says some women have particularly bad periods and are genuinely forced to call in sick.

    As part of negotiations for a new enterprise bargaining agreement at Toyota, the union has asked for women to be allowed 12 paid days menstrual leave a year.

    AMWU national secretary Doug Cameron says the leave would be additional to the sick leave they are already entitled to.

    “Our members tell us that they have to take their sick leave, some of them on a regular basis, because they’ve got chronic problems with their period,” Mr Cameron said.

    “We believe that they shouldn’t be disadvantaged against men that don’t have a regular problem once a month.”

    The Australian Industry Group (AIG) has condemned the move.

    AIG chief executive Heather Ridout says it is a particularly bad time to even propose such a claim.

    “I think it will set a dangerous precedent,” she said.

    “But more worrying it will put pressure on interest rates, the Reserve Bank, the Federal Treasury – they’re all looking for higher labour costs to put pressure on our interest rate structure.

    “We have to carefully weigh any increasing labour costs against the massive interest of all Australians to keep interest rates low.”

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  63. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Wreck said “Menstruation is certainly not a topic any male should care to argue.”

    Oh I dunno. Doug Cameron from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union was prepared to argue about it and said women should get another 12 days sick leave a year because of their periods. Ironically, it was a woman who argued against it.

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  64. tom hunter (4,838 comments) says:

    I would like to make one comment: Alasdair Thompson should resign with the same speed as Darren Hughes resigned.

    Really? How’s that working out for the Labour party in furthering their ideological and political agenda?

    How about something more along the lines of Anthony Weiner; days and days of rising criticism that hurts his own side by completely distracting them from what they want to talk about, as well as damaging the “brand”, while aiding their opponents in keeping their own problems out of view. Criticism that reaches the point where his own side is begging him to depart.

    Put it another way: as someone who wants to see the US Democrat party seriously fucked up I wanted Mr Weiner to stay in Congress for a long time.

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  65. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    “# berend (817) Says:
    June 24th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    DPF: It is possible of course that some women do have a high use of sick leave due to their menstrual cycle. But I do not believe, and have not seen a shred of evidence in support, the notion that the prevalence of this is significant enough to actually affect average pay rates.

    Well, from another woman I got this, taken from Women Take Almost 50 Percent More Short-Term Sick Leave Than Men:
    ….. You’re the statistician DPF, is this good enough?”

    Berend that study was of 7000 people between the ages of 40 and 60.
    Given that age bracket you would have to assume that absentism due to menstrual cycle issues would have to be lower than other factors. – A noteworthy point was that Women tend to be more concerned with their heath and see doctors more frequently, this would definately increase their use of sick leave.

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  66. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    I feel as though I am trapped in a dinner party of thirty years ago.
    Of course there is a gender pay gap.
    In New Zealand young unskilled males are paid less than young unskilled females. Obviously young unskilled females should take a pay cut.
    In the US black educated women are paid more than other women of equal education.
    Most of the gender pay gap is because high female participation rates are comparitively recent and so the general cohort has not had the same work experience as the general male cohort. Another way of saying my lot are getting old.
    The gender pay gap is closing as that work time gap closes and as more women graduate than men out of university and also are training themselves for highly paid careers.

    Taking time out to have children is now helping close the pay gap because of telecommuting. A career woman can now take four days away from the office a week to have a child and when she finally returns to work she will have a stronger CV because she has demonstrated a sought after skill – the ability to work unsupervised.
    Consequently she has a better chance of being put in charge of the next branch or overseas office.

    In the US men are proving too slow to take up the telecommuting opportunity and don’t realise it is costing them. But then, they are generally not as used to multi tasking as women.

    I suggest women focus on the future which is delivering the goods and stop wasting their effort on period pain nonsense and other passe crap. If we are going to count period pain what about hangover headaches?

    Just go for the high tech future. Read Postrel on glamour and style and realise the world is now the women’s oyster.

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  67. Rodders (1,755 comments) says:

    vor said “Women tend to be more concerned with their heath and see doctors more frequently, this would definately increase their use of sick leave.”

    Indeed. Some Kiwi males have an “ignorance is bliss” attitude with their own health (as I used to.)

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  68. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Alisdair Thompson is behind the times alright. In some Asian countries, women are given menstrual leave, but here in NZ to even raise the idea is guaranteed to generate hysteria. Countries such as Korea, Japan, Phillipines, and Indonesia are a little more mature.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_Leave

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  69. RAS (63 comments) says:

    He definitely doesn’t have good attitude towards menstruation:

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  70. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    RAS, I think Thompson’s got a great attitude towards menstruation, unlike a Norwegian boss who made his female staff wear red bracelets when they had their periods.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1334400/Female-staff-Norway-ordered-wear-red-bracelets-period.html

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  71. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Honestly, the EMAs handling of this is making Phil’s handling of the Hughes affair look decisive.

    A second apology will be what Thompson argued he needed to head of the issue; it’s not. They shouldn’t have agreed to it and should simply sack him now.

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  72. Rodders (1,755 comments) says:

    ross, thanks for the link @5.25pm

    An extract – “while other firms made staff sign a toilet ‘visitors book’

    Do they just sign their name or can they leave a comment as well? :)

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  73. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Paul, why should the EMU sack Thompson for essentially telling the truth. As should be apparent to you, some countries have menstual leave for their female workers. So clearly those countries see menstruation as a significant issue. But when Thompson makes the same point, he gets vilified.

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  74. Positan (390 comments) says:

    Kelly and the left must be rubbing their filthy hands in matchless delight at how a complete non-issue – an utter nonsense, in fact – has become such a point of contention. God, with all the other really consequential matters we face, and all the really hard thinking required for all those matters currently in the “too hard” basket – do we really have to go on with this dreary, nihilistic focus on a matter of such complete and utter inconsequence to everything that is important?

    Today, the news-media strut around, acting as though they have God-given rights to the creation of controversy – and we sit back, like the dummies we are, and let them. In the days when they called reporters, “reporters” – it was absolutely acknowledged by their profession that THAT was what they did. Reported. Now, they are every form of “media personality” – focus having shifted on to the “personality,” no matter how politically bent or loathsome their conduct – and everything must revolve around what they, as “media personalities” wish to promote, rather than the actual subject that they’re supposed to observe and report on neutrally.

    To spare us from more of this continuously flatulent discharge, I’d like to ram a few microphones up a few reporters’ asses and bring some new and transparent reality to their lives.

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  75. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Just stop apologising, he’s allowed an opinion apoligising means you have made an error.

    I would imagine there is some Kiwi Blogger out there that can find an interview or news item where a woman has totally been owned and has used her period or PMT as the reason ” just leave me alone I’m a woman”

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  76. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    http://www.hystersisters.com/vb2/showthread.php?t=332909

    These women in the link above comment on a blog about how they unfortunately miss lots of work becasue of their period.

    Bugger me it happens, go figure, Al didn’t make it up.

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  77. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Paul, why should the EMU sack Thompson for essentially telling the truth. As should be apparent to you, some countries have menstual leave for their female workers. So clearly those countries see menstruation as a significant issue. But when Thompson makes the same point, he gets vilified.

    EM A, not U.

    The existence or otherwise of menstrual leave in other countries does not in anyway make his claims true and his failure to produce any reliable evidence would, for any reasonable person, indicate perhaps the view is misinformed? I’d not sack him for the initial stupid comment; I’d sack him for the obviously disingenuous apology, the complete failure to manage the issue, the appaling interviews and the beligerent approach througout. I’d sack him because he’ll be entirely ineffective as an employer advocate for the foreseeable future. His entire performance screams incompetence.

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  78. David Farrar (1,895 comments) says:

    Re the study cited by NBR. That is a very interesting study, which may or may not be applicable to NZ. If Thompson had cited the study on radio, I suspect he would have got a very different reaction. I expect the head of an employer group to be up with the literature.

    More so, after the radio interview and before the TV interviews he should have had staff scouring the Internet for a study such as the one above. This is what a halfway competent person would have done.

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  79. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    What David said; his entire performance has been inept and will hurt employers – as I’ve said upthread, in my direct experience, BusinessNZ was a well run, reasonable and constructive advocate. Assuming they still are, they don’t need this idiot.

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  80. kowtow (8,470 comments) says:

    FemiNAZIsm in full flow.

    Reverse witchhunt. This is a TV3,girlieCambell,profuckengressive load of bollocks.

    Any man can express an honestly held view in the freedom loving west……..oh hold on a minute,no you can’t ,not if it offends a non male identifiable minority.

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  81. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Paul,

    Yours isn’t a convincing argument…it’s all style and no substance. You say he failed to produce any reliable evidence. If he had’ve produced such evidence, do you seriously think this would’ve been a non-issue? Of course if wouldn’t have been – some people, perhaps yourself included, are not interested in reliable evidence; you’d rather scream blue murder. Meanwhile, women will continue to be paid less than men…

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  82. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    David Farrar said: “If Thompson had cited the study on radio, I suspect he would have got a very different reaction.”

    Are you really that guillible? Thompson is a white, middle aged male. How dare he speak about women’s problems (!) and get away with it.

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  83. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    I have to say, the reaction from some of the female sectors of our society has been nothing short of outrageous.

    He obviously picked the wrong time of the month to release that statement!

    (hat, coat, etc…..)

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  84. lofty (1,310 comments) says:

    Well I got the apology email from the EMA today, signed by AT.
    Poor bastard, he is fucked by the hysterical harridons. (and DPF)
    Too late AT, on your bike mate, no choice. Sorry pal, you cannot recover from this pile of shit, and I know it has been blown out of all proportion.

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  85. Tauhei Notts (1,712 comments) says:

    I commented on General debate on this subject yesterday.
    I produced the statistics from my workplace which showed thatt the average woman took about 58% more sick time than the average male.
    Then I revisited those figures this morning and found that the best performer in the sick pay stakes, i.e. that employee with the least sick time, was a 30 year old woman.
    There are exceptions, but the average figures tell us a story that is irrefutable.
    Some bloggers asked me for a conclusion. I am smart enough to not give a conclusion to a matter like that. My late father was a prominent horse breeder. He advised me to be careful with females who are ovulating; be they equine, bovine or human.

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  86. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    If this guy is forced to resign over this it is absolutley disgraceful, he said something that has a factual basis to it and he’s pilloried
    for it.

    All the piilorisers (?) out there are presuming that his comment revolves aroung CEO types on 400K , his comment is mostly based on the typing pool small office scenario where sick leave is seen as an extension of annual leave

    Whats really disturbing is the blog host here has gone on gooey as well as the usual suspects FFS and the day anyone give sa flying fuck about what Brian Edwards thinks is a day we all should drink Jonestown Koolade

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  87. Pete George (23,561 comments) says:

    I analysed four payrolls this morning, about 5000 employees.

    1. Female 30% more than male.
    2. Female 40% more than men.
    3. Male 2x female.
    4. Male 3x female.

    Conclusion – none, too many variables. You would have to compare males and females all doing similar work type.

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  88. reid (16,454 comments) says:

    If this guy is forced to resign over this it is absolutley disgraceful

    Paul as a guy, personally I’m quite relaxed about it (and thus unsure quite why DPF seems excited), but agree with you in every way. His stellar career and service is not reflected in this trivial incident and it should not end on this note.

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  89. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    So what did Thompson actually say to Mihi Forbes? “I believe that in life most women are more productive totally than most men. I absolutely believe that. When you take into account the things that women do in their lives compared to most men. They often do all the arranging of the finances for the whole family, they run the household, they care for the children, they do all manner of things and they go to work. Their total productivity in life, in my opinion, is higher than most men.”

    So in fact he praised women and said they were MORE productive than men. Of course TV3 knew what he’d said but conveniently and dishonestly presented quite a different picture of Thompson. TV3 owe him an apology. That’s journalism of the lowest standard.

    Why did Mihi Forbes and Duncan Garner split up? Maybe he couldn’t stand her lack of ethics…

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  90. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    Tauhei Notts

    …He advised me to be careful with females who are ovulating; be they equine, bovine or human.”….

    Truly your father was a man of great wisdom.

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  91. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Nothing that’s been said on this topic gets away from the essentials. Thompson made a fool of himself, didn’t produce any facts to back his position, and then repeated himself after plenty of time to think about it.

    Since then, his defenders have added very little. We are left with these conclusions:

    1. Women, on average, earn less than men.
    2. Not all of that pay gap is explained by menstruation, time out for child birth, etc.
    3. Women face discrimination at some level in many workplaces.
    4. The employment status of women has improved, and is improving.
    5. Thompson is a complete idiot.

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  92. Black with a Vengeance (1,861 comments) says:

    Wimmin need to work like niggers eh boys ? then they might get paid more.

    Oh but hang on…niggers get paid even less and tend to be last pick in the employment stakes.

    Probably because they’re genetically dumber than your average whitey and inherently lazy too eh ?

    Sucks to be a dumb nigger woman then. Only job they’d be fit for is cleaning toilets. Isn’t that right lads ?

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  93. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    Anaemic Brown with a Shitty Liver

    Nice troll.

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  94. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Anyone stupid enough to be put on the ropes and KO’d by Meeheeweehee’s annoying voice and the rest of the progs at Campbell Live deserves to resign tbqh.

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  95. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    BwaV, unless you’re actually African American, you can not use that word in the way you just did.

    I suggest you go to New Orleans, walk up to the biggest black guy you can find, and ask him “what’s up nigga?”. I’m sure you two would get on just great. Even though your skin colour is more Han Chinese than African.

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  96. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Considering the amount of venom the topic raises, it amazes me there has been so little factual research on it. The two papers I saw (which contradict each other) are so flawed no safe conclusions can be drawn.

    Thompson’s TV performance was appalling but so was Campbell’s tonight and deserves greater condemnation since it was premeditated.

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  97. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Alan,

    In the paper by Ichino and Moretti (2006), the authors say:

    “In most Western countries absenteeism is higher among female workers than among male workers….in Europe, women take approximately 6.7 more sick-days per year than men. This number includes only illness-related absences, and therefore excludes maternity leave. In the US and Canada, the corresponding figures are 3 and 5.2 days. If we control for age, education and occupation, these di erences do not decline. Furthermore, family-related commitments can explain only part of this gender gap in illness-related absenteeism. For instance, when we restrict the comparison to unmarried workers with no children, we see that in Europe women still take almost 3 more sick-days than men. The corresponding figures for the US and Canada are 2 and 1.1 days.”

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  98. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    What if he’d said that males are more likely to harass female colleagues sexually abuse patients and try to sleep with female students becaue they produce semen…would we be defending him then?

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  99. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Lee C…is that factually correct? If so then I as a male have no issue with it and if Thompson,or a woman claimed this I would not raise a fuss.

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  100. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Lee C (3,961) Says:
    June 25th, 2011 at 5:52 am
    What if he’d said that males are more likely to harass female colleagues sexually abuse patients and try to sleep with female students becaue they produce semen…would we be defending him then?

    He didn’t , he made a comment that has some validity in fact.

    I’m presuming you are a male Lee C. – you sound so much like a school teacher, – so much guilt and so little time

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  101. Atheist1 (174 comments) says:

    @Tauhei Notts @8.24 pm

    You do know ovulation is a different concept than menstruation, don’t you? And that PMT occurs before menstruation when oestrogen levels rise?

    Do try to keep up, there’s a good old man.

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  102. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Atheist1

    If thats your best shot retire now – a sad effort with an attempt to bolster it by adding a bit of ageisim

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  103. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    I think, Pauleastbay, you’ve hit the nail on the head. This issue is about a while, midele aged guy talking about menstruation. The temerity of the man! If the head of the EMA was female and Maori, would this have become an issue?

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  104. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    The issue is still about a middle-aged idiot making a complete fool of himself.

    I’s quite funny to see the number of Kiwibloggers dragging out obscure studies that may show women take more sick leave than men.

    Irrelevant – Thompson made his wild claims to try to justify gender difference in pay. No one has tried to maintain that this difference is because women may take more sick leave.

    So we have two choices:

    1. Talk about how much of an idiot Thompson was and whether he should be fired.

    2. Debate gender differences in pay.

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  105. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Haha Mike you’re a hoot. Obscure studies = studies whose conclusions support Mr Thompson’s point. Therefore let’s attack the messenger.

    Women do indeed take more sick leave based on the research but then you’ve made it clear you’re not interested in what the research says. And you’ve made it clear you would rather attack the messenger than debate the issues.

    In Thompson’s interview with Mihi Forbes, he made it clear that there were many and varied reasons for the pay gap, women’s greater sick leave being just one factor. I suspect that women will always be paid less than men for those same reasons, ie, leaving and then re-entering the workforce, working for shorter periods of time, discrimination (though it can work for them and against them), concentration in the service industry (which is typically low paid), concentration in feminised jobs, taking time off to have and raise kids, and their greater use of sick leave. Women may also have lower expectations (and aspirations) than men when it comes to pay. Whatever the reasons for the pay gap, it’s clearly a complex issue.

    http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/534684–women-s-low-pay-expectations-a-self-fulfilling-prophecy

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  106. TM (99 comments) says:

    Some people are missing the point. Whether what he said has some validity is irrelevant. It’s the way he handled the media and the babbling incoherant way he came across. His constant references to his female lawyer staff and to the records held by his female accounts lady were cring-worthy. He would have been infinitely better off just refusing to talk to the media and issuing a statement with some coherent logic.

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  107. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ross

    It doesn’t matter what the studies concluded about sick leave – they’re irrelevant and anyway Thompson didn’t even attempt to make a case based on studies.

    So, that should take us back to a debate about gender. It seems highly unlikely that sick leave rates have got anything to do with it.

    We’re on surer ground if we talk about the factors you mention, but that’s not been where the debate has headed.

    Plus what TM just said!

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  108. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Mike,

    You’re hung by your own petard…you’ve admitted you’re not interested in what the research says. And you and TM are clearly not interested in the fact that women get paid less than men, you’d rather wank on about Thomspon’s handling of the media! Classic.

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  109. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ross

    I am interested in the research, but it’s irrelevant to the Thompson case.

    See my 1.32pm yesterday.

    There a lots of reasons for the pay gap – sick leave isn’t really one of them.

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  110. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ross – sorry to be a pedant, but it’s ‘hoist’ by one’s own petard.

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  111. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Mike

    You’re not interested in the research, you said so in your post of 10.18am. You said it’s irrelevant when it is very relevant. Yes there are lots of reasons for the pay gap and Thomspon explained several of those reasons. But you were too busy vilifying the guy, you probably weren’t listening. Instead of attacking the messenger, try listening to the message.

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  112. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    In Alasdair Thompsons’ case there is “Sex, lies, and statistics” According to a Herald article this morning by Andrew Koubaridis and Anna Leask, women working in the public service take only 1.6 days a year more sick leave than men, ie 8.6 days for men,6.8 days for women.
    Hardly the glaring statistic that Alasdair has commented on. Also considering the mothering and nuturing role that women perform in the community, this statistic is low and is credit to the work ethic of women.
    Now the other statistic that Alasdair doesn’t mention is Mondayitis, or hangover Friday that in my experience men are most vulnerable to.

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  113. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ross

    The medium is the message, as they say. If Thompson was trying to deliver a message, it didn’t get through.

    What I said was the research re sick leave rates was irrelevant. According to an earlier comment, such differences might account for 10% of the gap observed in that particular study.

    I suspect this has generated so much heat on Kiwiblog because in his original interview he was shown up by the CTU’s Helen Kelly.

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  114. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    With Google that you can google everything, I’m surprised that journalists, bloggers & commentators don’t fuckn’ seem to just Google. I have found a few and here is one that supported Alasdair Thompson comment.

    The following paper was originally appeared in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(1): 183–218.

    Abstract
    ============

    In most Western countries illness-related absenteeism is higher among female workers than among male workers. Using the personnel dataset of a large Italian bank, we show that the probability of an absence due to illness increases for females, relative to males, approximately 28 days after a previous illness. This difference disappears for workers age 45 or older. We interpret this as evidence that the menstrual cycle raises female absenteeism. Absences with a 28-day cycle explain a significant fraction of the male-female absenteeism gap. To investigate the effect of absenteeism on earnings, we use a simple model in which employers cannot directly observe workers’ productivity, and therefore use observable characteristics – including absenteeism – to identify productive workers. Since men are absent from work because of health and shirking reasons, while women face an additional exogenous source of health shocks due to menstruation, the signal extraction based on absenteeism is more informative about shirking for males than for females. Consistent with the predictions of the model, we find that the relationship between earnings (or worker quality) and absenteeism is more negative for males than for females. Furthermore, this difference declines with seniority, as employers learn more about their workers’ true productivity. Finally, we calculate the earnings cost for women associated with menstruation. We find that higher absenteeism induced by the 28-day cycle explains 11.8 percent of the earnings gender differential.

    Full Preprint PDF Download : Biological Gender Di erences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap

    Can someone send the paper above to fuckn politicians (and Govt ministers) who made uninformed comments in that TV3’s interview. Send the link to Mai Chen as well. She made herself look like an idiot with her comment. She is a brilliant lawyer, but she has no knowledge (zilch) in statistical/economic studies. Rachel Morton should have done what a journalists should have done. I would ring up some economists and fact check if indeed what Alasdair Thompson said has some truth to it. If I was her, I would check with 2 fine Canterbury economists first, such as Dr. Paul Walker & Dr. Eric Crampton.

    Some commentators here and on the public media are jumping up & down for the reason of PC rather than face the facts.

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  115. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    > If Thompson was trying to deliver a message, it didn’t get through.

    On the contrary it did get through to a lot of people. But people like yourself were too busy vilifying the guy that you didn’t bother to listen. I’m glad you agree that sick leave is likely to be partly responsbile for the pay gap. That’s what Thompson was saying, though he acknowlegded that it was not the major reason.

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  116. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ross

    So why did Thompson bring up such a weak association? If he was really interested in discussing the causes of the gender-based pay gap, why would he highlight something relatively insignificant and in such a woefully ham-fisted manner?

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  117. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Ross, I just scanned properly thru this thread and noted that you’ve already cited Andrea Ichino and Enrico Moretti’s paper.

    I went to SSRN to search for any studies that may have covered the topics of gender work absenteeism & pay gaps and I found a few, including the Moretti’s paper.

    mikenmild, this is the fuck’n 2nd time that you rubbish peer reviewed studies. You rubbished a study that I posted a week ago on (disastrous) effect of minimum wage laws here at Kiwiblog, but you failed to point to any studies that suported your position (ie, minimum wage should be raised). And now, you rubbished the study that Ross has pointed out to your thick brain and you also rubbished it. Can you point out to a study that support the figment of your imagination?

    Someone here on Kiwiblog has asked you a question before, if your profession as a primary school teacher? You replied no, but I’m starting to think that you’re a primary school teacher afterall but you’re too ashamed to admit it. Your arguments seem like one.

    Here is my suggestion. Fuck’n read the paper above , then critique the study, either wrong statistical methods being used, or wrong data collection, etc, etc,… Don’t just rubbish it without reading a single line of that paper.

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  118. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    Falafulu,

    This whole fiasco is an indictment on the media, particularly of TV3. Over at Brian Edwards’ wbesite, the producer of campbell Live, Pip Keane, has argued that she used the “best bits” of Mihi Forbes’ interview with Thompson. In case you don’t know, the best bits are those bits which show Thomspon in the worse possible light. The interview was 27 minutes but TV3 chose to show only 4 minutes. Thompson had plenty to say about women and how they were MORE productive than men. But Keane decided it wasn’t in the public interest to show that.

    I suggest if anyone needs to resign over this matter it’s Pip Keane and Mihi Forbes. They have abandoned even the most basic of journalism standards.

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  119. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    > So why did Thompson bring up such a weak association?

    It is not a “weak association”. It is a factor in the lower pay of women! The study by Ichino and Moreeti suggests that the effect of menstruation is a small but significant factor in the lower pay of women. But clearly there are other factors, which I’ve discussed here and which were discussed by Thompson. But people like you got in such a lather about one of the factors mentioned by him that you ignored the context.

    Even if you ignore the study I’ve referred to, there are other studies showing that women take more sick leave than men. This is a serious issue and it doesn’t deserve the crap treament it’s been given by TV3. I feel sorry for Thompson who doesn’t deserve the denigaration and vilification that he’s suffered.

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  120. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Ross said…
    Even if you ignore the study I’ve referred to, there are other studies showing that women take more sick leave than men.

    You’re right. Here is another one which is cited in the Moreeti’s paper above.

    ABSENTEEISM IN THE UK: A COMPARISON ACROSS GENDERS

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  121. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    @Falafulu Fisi – thought you may have noted by now that the resident, dog whistling know all (milkmilo) posts about everything and everything and that his ‘contributions’ are based on socialist leaning crap he believes is true simply because he’s the one that says it. If you say the sky is blue – milo will say its not – it is azure. And so on. He refutes research and facts simply because they get in the way of his left leaning outlook on life.

    You’ve also asked the question again whether milkmilo is a schoolteacher – I doubt it. Based on his recent activities (starts posting early in the morning / keeps at it across every single topic on KB until later at night – barely taking time out for a pee), then the logical conclusion would be that he is unemployed.

    But of one thing we can all agree – he is a moron.

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  122. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Falafulu

    I’m not rubbishing any studies. Lots of them could be rubbish of course, that’s par for the course in ‘social’ science.

    Gender-related absenteeism does not seem to be a big factor in explaining the pay gap between men and women.

    For minimum wages, I’m sorry, but it seems to be a case of pick your expert depending on what conclusion you want to support. My argument about minimum wages hasn’t been about studies. It would appear you are too busy name-calling tp pay attention.

    Anything else you want to hassle me about? Calling me a primary-school teacher probably says more about your mindset than anything else you might say.

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  123. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    I don’t mind you arguing, although you don’t seem to spend much time making your case for anything. Assuming someone is a ‘socialist’ or a ‘moron’ because they disagree with you, or (shock, horror, even prove you wrong) must bring you lots of (self) satisfaction.

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  124. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    mikenmild said…
    Lots of them could be rubbish of course, that’s par for the course in ‘social’ science.

    So, you say most of them huh? State clearly below which ones you have read (if they do exist)? If you haven’t read a single one then STFU, because you’re not putting forward an argument, just simply trolling.

    mikemild said…
    For minimum wages, I’m sorry, but it seems to be a case of pick your expert.

    So, go on and cite your so called experts then? List all their publications here, so I can check them out? State clearly the titles of their publications & journals which they were published in. I know you won’t do that since your experts are simply the members of the union who write online uninformed opinions. Those are not rigorous studies are they? I say, list your experts’ papers here, so to prove what you say exists, otherwise, its just a figment of your imagination.

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  125. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    From the Moretti and Ichino study:

    However the direct cost of absenteeism is only part of the total effect of the 28-day cycle on the earnings gap. First, and most importantly, the calculation above does not reflect the signaling value of avoiding absences. As the model indicates, absences may be used by employers to distinguish between shirkers and non-shirkers. If employers cannot distinguish well between general illnesses and menstrual-related sick leaves, the earnings cost is therefore larger than the simple cost of lost time. Second, this estimate does not reflect the fixed costs (capital, insurance, etc.) paid by the firm, irrespective of whether the worker is on the job or absent. Third, this estimate does not reflect the lost productivity due to menstrual symptoms when the worker does not choose to stay home. It is possible that there are instances when a female worker experiences menstrual symptoms that lower her productivity, but in which the pain is just below her threshold to trigger an absence. If workers who often experience pain above the threshold are also more likely to experience pain just below it, then our measure of cyclical absenteeism captures, at least in part, the lost productivity caused by menstrual symptoms experienced on the job. Medical studies confirm that women’s on-the-job productivity declines substantially as a consequence of menstrual symptoms. For example, in a clinical study, Chawla et al. (2002) estimate that women with severe PMS symptoms experience decreases in productivity of 48.2% – 64.4% for women with the more severe PMDD – relative to the women with minimal symptoms.

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  126. tom hunter (4,838 comments) says:

    I don’t mind you arguing, although you don’t seem to spend much time making your case for anything.

    Uh huh. The other day you asked me why I had concerns about Islamists in the West and I pointed you to something like four, lengthy articles from non-dingbat sources, as well as providing you with some quotes from each just to move things along.

    You had no response, not even to indicate that you had bothered to read the articles, let alone whether you disagreed or why, and you’ve done the same on other occasions on other topics.

    I suppose I should be grateful that you did not resort to calling me an “Islamophobe”, but aside from that note of grace you wasted my time – just as you’re wasting the time of others here with only questions and unlinked assertions, which really verges on trolling when it’s persistent.

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  127. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Milkmilo – I actually don’t give a stuff whether you mind something or not. But as mentioned by many on KB, your tiresome and constant bleating based on your equally tiresome premise that ‘left=good and right=bad’, simply confirms that your thinking is limited to what you want to believe and bugger anyone else. You’re not interested in facts or research unless it suits your own view – in fact you try to discredit any research that is not aligned with your own viewpoint.

    I agree with many others on KB – you are just a moron who probably lives to see your non de plume in print. I’m sure you’ll be consistent and want to come back with some smart arse comment – that’s your style… by getting in the first word and the last word on every thread posted on KB, you think that your view has somehow prevailed. Wrong again.

    You’ll always be a moron. Of that there is no doubt at all.

    Foxtrot Oscar.

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  128. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Falafulu

    Supporters of the minimum wage say that it increases the standard of living of workers and reduces poverty. Opponents say that if it is high enough to be effective, it increases unemployment, particularly among workers with very low productivity due to inexperience or handicap, thereby harming lesser skilled workers to the benefit of better skilled workers.

    Brown et al note that time series studies to that point had found that for a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, there was a decrease in teenage employment of 1-3 percent. However, for the effect on the teenage unemployment rate, the studies exhibited wider variation in their estimates, from zero to over 3 percent. See Charles Brown, Curtis Gilroy, and Andrew Kohen “Time Series Evidence on the Effect of the Minimum Wage on Youth Employment and Unemployment,” The Journal of Human Resources, Volume 18, no. 1 (Winter 1983), pp. 3-31.

    Card and Krueger wrotew Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage. They argued that the negative employment effects of minimum wage laws are minimal if not non-existent. For example, they look at the 1992 increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage, the 1988 rise in California’s minimum wage, and the 1990-91 increases in the federal minimum wage. In addition to their own findings, they reanalyzed earlier studies with updated data, generally finding that the older results of a negative employment effect did not hold up in the larger datasets.

    Some leading economists such as Kevin M. Murphy and Nobel laureate Gary Becker do not accept the Card/Krueger results, while some others, like Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz do accept them as correct.

    Until the 1990s, economists generally agreed that raising the minimum wage reduced employment. This consensus was weakened when some well-publicized empirical studies showed the opposite, although others confirmed the original view. Today’s consensus, if one exists, is that increasing the minimum wage has, at worst, minor negative effects. See “A Blunt Instrument; The Minimum Wage,” The Economist, October 28, 2006.

    All I’ve done over the minimum wage is point out that it’s a contested field.

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  129. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    Contrary to your assumption, I do not think that left=good or right=bad. It’s not my fault you don’t read my comments and simply resort to abuse.

    I’m being asked for evidence of my views. That’s fine.

    I could ask you for evidence for your views. If I’m a socialist, you’ll be able to point to examples of me calling for collective ownership of the means of production. If I’m a moron, you’ll be able to point out errors in my arguments. Otherwise, you may as well STFU.

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  130. Black with a Vengeance (1,861 comments) says:

    BwaV, unless you’re actually African American, you can not use that word in the way you just did.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    If that decrepit ballheaded Mr Burns lookalike Murray Deaker can use it that way on a public broadcast, then why can’t everybody ?

    I suggest you stop being such a limp dicked, pantywaisted honky muthafucka and grow a fucking pair eh ?

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  131. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance, why do you not use your real name?

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  132. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Mr Alasdair Thompson should have slapped Mihi Forbes’s face for being provocative. He accepted her into his office for an interview, then she turned around and ambushed him. Alasdair Thompson should have kicked the bitch out. The way she conducted her interview was more like she thought she owned Alasdair Thompson, that she demanded he answered her every questions.

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  133. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    As I’ve already mentioned, milkmilo – “that’s your style… by getting in the first word and the last word on every thread posted on KB, you think that your view has somehow prevailed. Wrong again. You’ll always be a moron. Of that there is no doubt at all”.

    Now be a good boy and Foxtrot Oscar.

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  134. Black with a Vengeance (1,861 comments) says:

    Slap teh provocative bitches on TV ?..why stop there, why not rip their tops off and expose their titties too eh ?

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  135. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    Fancy a change of style? Arguments instead of abuse? Thought not…

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  136. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    See – I was right – you HAVE to have the last word…

    Bwahaaaaaaaaaaaaa….

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  137. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    mikenmild said…
    Arguments instead of abuse?

    What’s your arguments then?

    As far as I can see on this thread, you haven’t presented one. You mentioned above about obscure studies, but failed completely to cite any other study that disputed the conclusions of the study that you labeled obscure.

    Clarify yourself here. What are your arguments?

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  138. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Falafulu

    So we’re okay about the minimum wage now?

    Back to the gender pay gap.

    I don’t dispute the findings of any of the studies cited here. That hasn’t been my point. Only one, from memory, of the studies made any mention of what contribution sick leave made to the pay gap – about 10%. So other factors are more relevant.

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  139. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi

    This paper makes some valid criticisms of the Ichino and Moretti analysis but its own data seems far from conclusive:
    http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jrockoff/papers/rockoff_herrmann_absenteeism_dec09.pdf

    My assessment therefore was that the research I found is inadequate to answer the question to date.

    However I would expect that any analysis of male/female doctor visits would probably show a clear distinction and that also the overall stats for absenteeism would need to be adjusted for the much heavier weighting of males in high injury risk occupations.

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  140. Positan (390 comments) says:

    Today’s Slut Walk was promoted with great media enthusiasm and coverage … but then, those who took part in this upside down protest probably didn’t notice the irony or inconsistency between such action today and their creation of the emotively-targeted, shark-feeding frenzy over the comments of Alasdair Tnompson.

    Our media and most of our strident feminists consistently show that they’re little more than high-pitched, sensation-seeking, gutless wonders.

    Even worse, there’s still no media coverage of Labour’s insecure website – or the volumes that have gone missing.

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