Gender Interactions in Wage Bargaining: Evidence from an Online Field Experiment
51 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017 Last revised: 24 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 20, 2017
This paper explores how worker-employer gender interactions affect wage negotiations in a contract labor setting. More specifically, we ask whether male and female job seekers competing for contracts in an online labor market adjust their bargaining strategies and reservation prices depending on the inferred gender of the employer. We design a randomized-block experiment in which we invite a random sample of male/female freelancers to apply for a job contract which is otherwise identical except for the gender of the employer and the bargaining setting. We find a “male employer effect” whereby job seekers (regardless of gender) bid 22% lower to our male employer. We attribute this finding to stereotypes regarding women’s ability and willingness to negotiate on price. We discuss implications for observed gender gaps in wages, career paths and entrepreneurial activity.
Keywords: Gender, Discrimination, Field Experiment, Online Labor
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