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Incomparable Worth


  • Page extent: 336 pages
  • Size: 234 x 156 mm
  • Weight: 0.65 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 331.2/153/09776
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: HD6061.2.U62 M674 1993
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Pay equity--Minnesota
    • Pay equity--Australia

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521441872 | ISBN-10: 0521441870)

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$113.00 (C)

Challenging proponents of equal pay for comparable worth, Steven Rhoads argues that implementation has been plagued by critical and insurmountable problems. Where success has been most frequently touted--in Minnesota, England, and Australia--job evaluation results are often arbitrary and political rather than objective.


1. Introduction; 2. The debate over equal pay for comparable worth; 3. Implementing comparable worth in Minnesota; 4. Job evaluation in Minnesota localities; 5. Equal pay for work of equal value in the European Community; 6. Equal pay for work of equal value in the United Kingdom; 7. Equal pay for work of equal value in Australia; 8. Conclusion.


"Just when it seemed that the theoretical debate on comparable worth was at a standstill, that everything that could possibly be said by proponents and opponents of pay equity had been said, along comes Steven E. Rhoads's Incomparable Worth, a book that has the potential to break the logjam. Rather than engaging in a priori speculation, as most commentators on this issue have done, author Rhoads traverses the globe, searching out venues in which real people have tried to implement pay equity schemes...Incomparable Worth is richly textured and actually interesting to read." Society

"Just when it seemed that pretty much everything that could be said on the subject of comparable worth had been, along comes Steven Rhoads's Incomparable Worth. Rhoads did what few commentators on either side of this often fractious debate have bothered to do: he abjured a priori analysis and went into the field to see how programs of this sort have actually functioned around the world. In doing this, he has stretched the boundaries of the entire debate and produced a highly readable, informative study free of the usual ideological preconceptions." Ellen Frankel Paul, Social Philosophy and Policy Center

"Steven Rhoads occupies a special niche in writing about public policy. He is a political scientist who is also knowledgeable about and sympathetically critical of economics. That mixture of skills again serves the reader well in this judicious discussion of the issue of comparable worth." Steven Kelman, Harvard University

"Although comparable worth has become something of a shibboleth, Rhoads argues that it fails to provide a reliable method for identifying and overcoming discrimination and, as well, that even the most modest estimate of its costs is outside the bounds of economic feasibility by staggering amounts. At this point we have no secure examples of reliable "objective job evaluation" comparable worth advocates claim they can provide; indeed, most attempsts to proffer such standards bog down in bizarre discriminations themselves. Finally, Rhoads argues that women now moving into a range of professions in large numbers would likely be harmed rather than helped by the general downscaling--even freezing--of wages for many jobs full implementation of comparable worth requires. Pay equity, including tough enforcement of anti-discrimination law, is a fairer and more feasible route. A timely, controversial, and necessary book." Jean Bethke Elshtain

"Steven Rhoads' timely book shows that the adoption of comparable worth policies would politicize the U.S. economy and coalesce society into redistributive combines dependent upon the interventionist state. Comparable worth legislation would severly distort the labor market, with disastrous results. Rhoads' warning should be heeded by all policymakers and commentators who are concerned about U.S. economic performance." Paul Craig Roberts, Center for Strategic and International Studies

"Rhoads concludes in this carefully written and insightful work that where the system of rating jobs for the purposes of establishing comparable worth has been tried, it has generally failed, leading to bizarre outcomes in the market. This is required reading for any policy analyst involved in wage and salary administration." Library Journal

"Steven Rhoads has written the indispensable book on comparable worth. It has the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The idea is based on misunderstanding of markets as nothing but arbitrary power. To the extent enacted it will harm everyone, including the women and minorities it is supposed to help." Professor Aaron Wildavsky, European Institute of Public Administration

"Despite mainstream theoretical work predicting that CW will disrupt labor markets and cause inefficiency, supporters have convinced many that the actual implementation of CW programs is quite successful. Rhoads investigates three cases (Minnestota, Britain and Austrailia) which are central to the proponents' argument. He demonstrates that many of the mainstream predictions have come true, and argues that the programs are failures because they have never produced `objective job evaluation results, though they have often obtained bizarre ones.'...this is an excellent book which you should read and assign to students. There is little room to criticize Rhoads." Southern Economic Journal

"Political scientist Steven Rhoads has written a book that will prove invaluable to opponents of comparable worth....[A]n invaluable contribution to the literature on comparable worth....It is also an extremely valuable addition to the regrettably small literature on implemenation of public policy." Joyce P. Jacobsen, Journal of Economic Literature

"...a valuable piece of research." Choice

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