In a video for the Huffington Post, actress Kristen Bell mocks the gender pay gap, asking: “Why outsource all your production to faraway countries like India, China, and Narnia when we have the cheapest and best workforce right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.? Women.”
In the video, Bell advertises “Pinksourcing”—outsourcing work to women to save money, because you can pay them less than men. But as economics professor Donald Boudreaux points out at Cafe Hayek, the very fact that this “Pinksourcing” organization is fictional suggests that women aren’t generally underpaid for doing the same work as men:
Of course, the actual producers of this video – and, presumably, also Ms. Bell – do not understand that the sort of fictional entrepreneurial business featured in this video is precisely what would arise if women were generally underpaid … The fact that the real-world economy does not have a for-profit business such as “Pinksourcing” – the video’s fictional company that connects profit-hungry firms to underpaid women workers – is strong evidence that women are not generally underpaid.“]
If you really could pay women less for doing the same work, “Pinksourcing” would be commonplace. Companies outsource production to foreign countries because labor is cheaper there. By the same logic, if you really could pay women just 77 cents on the dollar, companies would have incentive to hire more women.
The very fact that “Pinksourcing” doesn’t exist suggests that the gap in men and women’s earnings doesn’t stem from different pay for the same work. For more, check out one of our all-time most popular videos: “Do Women Earn Less Than Men?”
For more on women’s issues from a libertarian perspective, check out our On Demand program, Feminism: A New Perspective.