There are some misleading statistics that never die. Take, for example, the claim that “American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.”

For decades economists and pundits have explained why that figure, even if accurate, doesn’t tell us what we think it does (e.g, that woman are being discriminated against in the workforce). But many people are still confused by such claims, so it’s encouraging to hear Anna Broadway explain what such statistics fail to account for:

I’m not convinced that income is always such a good measure of well-being, for those who earn above a certain threshold. (Indeed, arecent study suggests that threshold is $75,000.) On my present salary, I can see as many concerts and buy as much beer and yarn as I like, while still giving a decent amount of my money away and chipping away at the debt racked up in my 20s. If I made a lot more money, I’d have to spend more time thinking about what to do with that money. But I’d rather spend my free time writing, cooking, traveling, and hanging out with those whom I love.

With all the things I want to do outside work, it is way more valuable for me to have fairly consistent hours than to make more money. Maybe, if you look at my salary and compare it to those of comparably educated men, I look like I’m not doing as well, but I doubt I’d want to trade places with any of them. The relative autonomy I enjoy and agency over my out-of-work time is worth vastly more to me.

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