Research reveals a surprising behavior around the gender pay gap

Ladies are simply as inclined as males to vote in opposition to a coverage to cut back a gender pay gap if they’re personally benefiting from the established order. That is one of the main findings of my new study, which was revealed in January 2021 in the journal Utilized Economics Letters.

I carried out a collection of laboratory experiments wherein I recruited members to do a 30-question quiz. The members knew from the begin that they might be paid primarily based on the variety of questions they answered appropriately. In roughly half of the classes, the quiz was written in a method to give males a bonus. I achieved this by selecting questions that have been primarily on matters that surveys present males are typically extra desirous about than girls, akin to sports and certain movie genres. The quiz for the different half of the classes was designed in a comparable method to give girls a bonus.

In the model with a male bias, males answered a mean of 21 questions appropriately, whereas girls answered solely 13 proper. This was meant to imitate the present real-world state of affairs wherein males, on common, earn greater than girls. The questions have been rigorously chosen in order that the quiz that favored girls had mirrored outcomes: The common girl answered 21 appropriately, the common man simply 13.

3 times at completely different levels of the experiment members voted to both be paid $1 for each right reply or to provide the group that was at a drawback a leg up. If the second fee possibility gained the majority vote, the deprived members would get $1.25 per proper reply, whereas those that benefited from the biased check would obtain simply 85 cents.

In all three votes, which had comparable outcomes, I discovered that girls have been truly extra possible than males to vote in opposition to the coverage that will have led to a narrowing of the pay gap after they earned more cash in the quiz. On common, 96.8% of girls’s votes have been in opposition to the proposed corrective fee coverage after they have been extra prone to appropriately reply the questions, in contrast with 90.5% of the males’s votes after they had the edge.

As well as, when girls have been at a drawback, they have been extra prone to vote in favor of the corrective coverage, with 79.5% supporting it versus 73% for the males.

Whereas social science laboratory experiments like mine can not absolutely seize each nuance, I imagine my qualitative outcomes are just like what we might discover in the actual world.

My analysis suggests girls may really feel the similar if the positions have been reversed. Moreover, it means that males would additionally possible be equally vociferous in calling for a narrowing of the gap in the event that they discovered themselves in a world the place they have been holding the brief finish of the stick.

Ideally, I hope this analysis will lead folks to reexamine the positions they maintain on points like this one and take into account how self-interest could also be driving their arguments. Perhaps it might result in extra understanding and enhance the focus in these debates on the obtainable proof.

What’s subsequent

In my present and future work, I search to experimentally decide folks’s willingness to sacrifice private monetary beneficial properties in favor of an end result that they see as serving the frequent good. This includes, for instance, testing how a lot earnings the common worker or government is keen to sacrifice to cut back earnings inequality.