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Why Women Don’t Ask: Gender Differences in Fairness Perceptions of Own Wages and Subsequent Wage Growth

SOEPpapers 963, 25 S.

Christian Pfeifer, Gesine Stephan


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The authors analyze gender differences in fairness perceptions of own wages and subsequent wage growth. The main finding is that women perceive their wage more often as fair if controls for hourly wage rates, individual and job-related characteristics are taken into account. Furthermore, the gender difference is more pronounced for married than for single women. This points to the fact that social norms, gender roles, and gender identity are at least partly responsible for the gap in fairness perceptions. Further analysis shows that individuals, who perceive their wage as unfair, experience larger wage growth in subsequent years. An explanation would be that a wage perceived as unfair triggers negotiations for a better wage or induces individuals to search for better paid work. Thus, differences in wage perceptions can contribute to explain the nowadays still persistent gender wage gap.

JEL-Classification: J16;J31;J71;A12
Keywords: gender differences, fairness, social norms, wages, wage growth
Frei zugängliche Version: (econstor)