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How competitiveness may cause a gender wage gap: Experimental evidence

Matthias Heinz, Hans-Theo Normann and Holger A. Rau

European Economic Review, 2016, vol. 90, issue C, 336-349

Abstract: We show that choices in competitive behavior may entail a gender wage gap. In our experiments, employees first choose a remuneration scheme (competitive tournament vs. piece rate) and then conduct a real-effort task. Employers know the pie size the employee has generated, the remuneration scheme chosen, and the employee׳s gender. Employers then decide how the pie will be split, as in a dictator game. Whereas employers do not discriminate by gender when tournaments are chosen, they take substantially and significantly more from female employees who choose piece-rate remuneration. A discriminatory wage gap occurs which cannot be attributed to employees׳ performance.

Keywords: Dictator game; Discrimination; Gender wage gap; Laboratory experiment; Real-effort task (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 J16 M52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.02.011

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