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Approval of Equal Rights and Gender Differences in Well-Being


  • Rafael Lalive
  • Alois Stutzer


Women earn less than men but are not less satisfied with life. This paper argues that norms on the appropriate pay for women compared to men explain these findings. We take citizens’ approval of an equal rights amendment to the Swiss constitution as a proxy for the norm that "women and men shall have the right to equal pay for work of equal value". We find that the gender wage gap narrows by one fifth due to an increase by one standard deviation in the approval. Rejecting an explanation in terms of discrimination, we find that employed women are less (not more) satisfied with life in liberal communities where the gender wage gap is smaller.

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  • Rafael Lalive & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Approval of Equal Rights and Gender Differences in Well-Being," CESifo Working Paper Series 1245, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1245

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    Cited by:

    1. Boris Hirsch & Marion König & Joachim Möller, 2013. "Is There a Gap in the Gap? Regional Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(4), pages 412-439, September.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2009. "Should National Happiness be Maximized?," Chapters,in: Happiness, Economics and Politics, chapter 14 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Keith A. Bender & Kristen Roche, 2016. "Self-employment and the paradox of the contented female worker," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 421-435, August.
    4. Michela Ponzo, 2011. "Occupational Status and Individual Subjective Well-Being in Italy," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, September.
    5. José Giménez-Nadal & Raquel Ortega, 2015. "Time Dedicated to Family by University Students: Differences by Academic Area in a Case Study," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 132-142, March.
    6. Uwe Jirjahn, 2011. "Gender, Worker Representation and the Profitability of Firms in Germany," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 8(2), pages 281-298, December.
    7. Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2007. "Calculating Tragedy: Assessing The Costs Of Terrorism," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 1-24, February.
    8. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Happiness Research: State and Prospects," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 207-228.
    9. Janssen, Simon & Tuor Sartore, Simone N. & Backes-Gellner, Uschi, 2014. "Social Attitudes on Gender Equality and Firms' Discriminatory Pay-Setting," IZA Discussion Papers 7959, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Dragana Djurdjevic & Sergiy Radyakin, 2007. "Decomposition of the Gender Wage Gap Using Matching: An Application for Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 143(IV), pages 365-396, December.
    11. Stefan Boes & Rainer Winkelmann, 2010. "The Effect of Income on General Life Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 111-128, January.
    12. Jacqueline Zweig, 2015. "Are Women Happier than Men? Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 515-541, April.

    More about this item


    equal rights; gender discrimination; gender wage gap; social norms; subjective well-being.;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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