Opinion

The Great Debate

No quotas for women on corporate boards

Diana-FurchtgottRoth.jpg – Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

Although women moved into the workforce in great numbers in the 1980s, they still have to catch up to men in terms of leadership positions in corporate America. The New York human resources firm Catalyst found that women hold 16.9 percent of officer positions in American corporations, and only 11 percent of senior leadership line roles.

The question is, why are there so few women corporate board members? Those who have a proclivity to assume sex discrimination might fear the worst. Others might simply assume that relatively few qualified women were available for board slots, or that boards with women performed poorly in the marketplace.

Earlier this month the London School of Economics released a new study showing that publicly-traded companies with more women on the boards of directors do better in terms of firm management but worse in terms of economic performance. The study, entitled Women in the Boardroom and Their Impact on Governance and Performance, was just published in the Journal of Financial Economics.

The authors, economists Renee Adams of the University of Queensland, Australia, and Daniel Ferreira, of the London School of Economics, conclude that additional women improve the governance of the firm. Female board members were more likely to be assigned to audit, nominating, and corporate governance committees and they had higher attendance at board meetings. Chief executive officers of companies with female directors are held to a higher standard of accountability.

Are women paid less than men?

Diana-FurchtgottRoth.jpg — Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

One of the concerns of working women is the “pay gap” – the alleged payment to women of 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man.  But there are more behind these numbers than first meets the eye, because women work different hours, major in different subjects, and choose different careers.

The 78 percent figure comes from comparing the 2007 full-time median annual earnings of women with men, the latest year available from the Census Bureau.  The 2007 Department of Labor data show that women’s full-time median weekly earnings are 80 percent of men’s.

Reduce the high cost of medical malpractice

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

The next time you take your child to a doctor, scrutinize carefully the doctor’s bill.  What it won’t tell you is that an average of 10 cents out of every dollar you pay goes to the malpractice insurance doctors must have to protect themselves in case a patient sues them.

Malpractice premiums cost some doctors many tens of thousands of dollars a year, not because an individual doctor has a history of making mistakes, but because in some states juries make excessively generous awards knowing that insurance companies pay.

Is America ready for single payer healthcare?

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

President Barack Obama has repeatedly said “First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”

But America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, the bill under discussion in the House of Representatives, would result in the demise of private health insurance in America.

Gender equality: From sports to math and science

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

The Obama administration is considering a proposal to use federal regulations to expand women’s participation beyond college athletics to the selection of courses, especially in mathematics, science and engineering.

The proposal to apply so-called Title IX gender-equality to selection of courses and majors was discussed at a White House conference on June 23, and endorsed by Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser and assistant to the president, and Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary of education for civil rights.

Getting a summer job: Entrepreneurship for teens

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

It’s July, teen unemployment has risen to 24 percent, and you—or your teenage children—still don’t have a summer job. This is a peculiarly American problem.

In Nepal, according to Hudson Institute research assistant and Nepalese citizen Astha Strestha, “teens just hang around all summer and spend their parents’ money.”

What will the climate change bill do to your job?

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

Next Thursday, just in time for the July 4 holiday weekend, America’s unemployment rate is forecast to rise from 9.4 percent to 9.6 percent, well above rates in other industrialized countries.

Yet today the House of Representatives is rushing to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, even though the bill was incomplete yesterday and congressmen have not yet had the opportunity to analyze it. The bill would send America’s unemployment rate even higher.

Starting a trade war with “Buy America”

diana-furchtgottroth

–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

When Congress inserted “Buy America” protectionist provisions that required some goods (such as steel, cement, and textiles) financed by the stimulus bill to be made in America, our government invited a trade war with important economic partners.  Now China and Canada are imposing their own protectionist regulations, potentially destroying well-paid American jobs in the export sector.  Other countries may follow suit.

This week China reported that the government now requires stimulus projects to use domestic suppliers when possible, even though in February it promised to treat foreign companies equally.  The Chinese $585 billion stimulus package has resulted in a World Bank growth forecast of 7.2% for China this year, far above other industrialized countries.

A better way to fund roads

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

Just as motorists began the summer driving season, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Congress that the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money by August.   Rising gasoline prices and the recession mean less driving, and less driving means lower revenues from gasoline taxes for the Highway Trust Fund.

At the same time, President Obama wants to spend $13 billion as a downpayment on high-speed rail, an expensive form of transportation that will reach only small segments of the country and that will not substitute for highways.  The money would be better spent on developing a more stable  source of revenue for highways, based on miles driven rather than gasoline used, that would help to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

The health insurance reform stakes begin

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

Health reform season kicked off this week with a meeting between President Obama and 24 Senate Democrats at the White House in preparation for congressional hearings and debate on health care in the weeks ahead.

Obama declared: “So we can’t afford to put this off, and the dedicated public servants who are gathered here today understand that and they are ready to get going, and this window between now and the August recess I think is going to be the make-or-break period. ”

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