How Competitiveness May Cause a Gender Wage Gap: Experimental Evidence
32 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2014 Last revised: 15 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 2015
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
JEL Classification: C91, J16, M52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation