NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment

Andreas Leibbrandt, John A. List

NBER Working Paper No. 18511
Issued in November 2012
NBER Program(s):   LS

One explanation advanced for the persistent gender pay differences in labor markets is that women avoid salary negotiations. By using a natural field experiment that randomizes nearly 2,500 job-seekers into jobs that vary important details of the labor contract, we are able to observe both the nature of sorting and the extent of salary negotiations. We observe interesting data patterns. For example, we find that when there is no explicit statement that wages are negotiable, men are more likely to negotiate than women. However, when we explicitly mention the possibility that wages are negotiable, this difference disappears, and even tends to reverse. In terms of sorting, we find that men in contrast to women prefer job environments where the ‘rules of wage determination’ are ambiguous. This leads to the gender gap being much more pronounced in jobs that leave negotiation of wage ambiguous.

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the April 2013 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Flory, Leibbrandt, and List w16546 Do Competitive Work Places Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job-Entry Decisions
Conti, Galeotti, Mueller, and Pudney w18475 Popularity
Allcott and Rogers w18492 The Short-Run and Long-Run Effects of Behavioral Interventions: Experimental Evidence from Energy Conservation
Scott-Clayton, Crosta, and Belfield w18457 Improving the Targeting of Treatment: Evidence from College Remediation
Fitzpatrick and Jones w18530 Higher Education, Merit-Based Scholarships and Post-Baccalaureate Migration
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us