Saturday, October 30, 2010

Attitudinal and behavioral differences towards work by race

In a previous post, I looked at attitudinal and (self-reported) behavioral differences towards work among the sexes. There are several reasons for the wage gap between men and women putatively doing the same work; men tend to have been employed for a longer period of time than women have been (a function of the relatively recent uptick in the percentage of women entering the workforce), men are more willing to work oddball shifts which tend to include a wage supplemental relative to the same work done during preferred times, men are more likely to work overtime, men are more likely to name work as the top source of satisfaction in their lives, and men are more likely to say they'd prefer to work more hours and consequently earn more money they currently do.

Historically, men constituted the majority of those seeking higher education, though that is no longer the case. The IQ distribution of men is wider than that of women, and there is some evidence that men have slightly higher average IQs than women do, but that is not the consensus opinion. This said, educational attainment and IQ are similar among men and women, relative to the differences among racial groups.

Without attempting to control for either of these attributes in the GSS (the sample sizes for all but blacks become too small to be worth pursuing), the following table shows racial differences in the same attitudinal and behavioral approaches towards work that were considered by sex. I don't think there is much profundity here (black unemployment and underemployment is higher than it is for whites, so it's little surprise that they tend to want to work more and earn more money, etc), but since I ran the numbers I might as well share it with the readership. Responses are from 2002 and 2006, so this is all prior to the recession:

Working other than day shifts (nights, swing, etc)27.0%
Work overtime at least once a month64.1%
Main satisfaction in life comes from work25.6%
Want to work additional hours to earn more money26.7%

Asians appear to be the bastion of the Protestant work ethic in contemporary America, with Hispanics catching the overflow. Whites work enough, or more than enough, with nearly two-thirds working overtime at least once a month. Blacks and whites are actually quite similar in aggregate to one another on these dimensions. The attitudes of Native Americans tend to be the least enthusiastic about the daily grind.

GSS variables used: RACECEN1(1)(2)(3)(4-10)(15-16), WRKSCHED, MOREDAYS, WKTOPSAT, HRSMONEY

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