The omnipresence of horses meant that 19th-century houses were built with “boot scrapers” outside so that people could get the manure off their boots before entering a home. The waste was also a source of disease, as were the dead horses in the streets. Disposing of the horses and their by-products was costly, and as historian Stephen Davies observed in an earlier Freeman column, there were many debates about how society would deal with the even larger amount of manure the future held if the then-current growth rate in the use of horses continued.
The car eliminated that worry by dramatically reducing the use of horses and replacing them and their waste products with the much cleaner automobile.
James Pethokoukis points us to a new study out of the New York Fed casting further doubt (as if much doubt remained among sensible people) on the popular myth that irrational or bigoted discrimination is responsible for differences in men’s and women’s pay.
According to a recent study from an economist at Cornell, generous parental leave policies could jeopardize all women’s chances for promotion. Looking at the impact on women, the study indicated that women hired after the Family and Medical Leave Act was passed were “five percent more likely to remain employed but eight percent less likely to be promoted than those who were hired before” it was enacted. The reason? Perhaps employers hesitate to invest in women if there is a chance they will take long periods of time away from work.
Similarly, research on the impact of generous maternity policies in Europe indicates that women are less likely to become managers or to occupy high-powered positions. In Chile, a child care mandate for working mothers led to a decrease in starting salaries for all women.