Timothy Judge, PhD, and Beth Livingston from the University of Florida say that sexism still exists and it has positive effects on income ... if you're a man. Their study says men who believe in what they call traditional roles for women (whether they believed a woman's place is in the home, whether employing wives leads to more juvenile delinquency, whether a man should be the primary earner and if the woman should take care of the home and family) earn more money than men who don't, though women with more traditional outlooks don't make much(edited) more than women with more egalitarian views.

They analyzed data from a study of men and women who were interviewed four times between 1979 and 2005. A total of 12,686 people, ages 14 to 22 at the beginning of the study, participated; there was a 60 percent retention rate over the course of the study. The results were published in the latest Journal of Applied Psychology.

At each of the four interviews, participants were asked about their views on gender roles in the work force and at home. Participants were also asked about their earnings, religious upbringing, education, whether they worked outside the home and their marital status, in addition to other topics.

Prior studies have shown that men tend to hold more traditional gender roles than do women, though this gap has narrowed over time.

The researchers looked for gender role views as a predictor of a person's earnings - not surprisingly, they were able to find them. They controlled for job complexity, number of hours worked and education and their analyses concluded that men in the study who said they had more traditional gender role attitudes made an average of about $8,500 more annually than those who had less traditional attitudes.

For women, the situation was reversed. Women who held more traditional views about gender roles made an average of $1,500 less annually than the women with more egalitarian views. Put another way, if a married couple holds traditional gender role attitudes, the husband's earning advantage was predicted to be eight times greater than a married couple where the husband and wife have less traditional attitudes.

"These results show that changes in gender role attitudes have substantial effects on pay equity," Judge said. "When workers' attitudes become more traditional, women's earnings relative to men suffer greatly. When attitudes become more egalitarian, the pay gap nearly disappears."

Clearly men with more traditional outlooks have one family income so they have to be more driven and they are less likely to be unemployed musicians living with their girlfriends, right?

The authors say that is not the case and the results did not fundamentally change when other factors were controlled, such as industry, occupation, hours worked, and number of children. "These results cannot be explained by the fact that, in traditional couples, women are less likely to work outside the home," Judge said. "Though this plays some role in our findings, our results suggest that even if you control for time worked and labor force participation, traditional women are paid less than traditional men for comparable work."

Their other conclusions were not all that surprising:

  • People living in Northeastern cities had less traditional views regarding gender roles
  • People whose parents both worked outside the home had less traditional views regarding gender roles
  • Married, religious people tended to have more traditional gender role views
  • Younger people had less traditional views but became more traditional over time

The researchers believe their results show that the gender pay gap is not just an economic phenomenon. "Psychology has an important role to play, too," said Judge. "Our country's policies have been leaning toward gender equality for decades now. But, according to our study, traditional gender role views continue to work against this goal."