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Valuing personal safety and the gender earnings gap


  • Oscar Becerra
  • José-Alberto Guerra


Are there gender differences in the willingness to pay (WTP) for safer jobs? Using a laboratory experiment, we elicit participants’ WTP for an early (perceived ‘safer’) on-site shift. We find that women forego larger earnings in order to secure an early shift more than men do, with a safety concern about the late shift being a key driver, explaining up to 20% of the estimated gender gap. We do not observe a gender gap if the job can be completed remotely. Results are robust to controlling for morning-types, household and demographic characteristics, attitudes toward risk and uncertainty, victimization, and information provision about crime. Controlling for crime exposure reduces the estimated gender gap. Thus, our results suggest that policies that reduce gender disparities in safety concerns may affect women’s labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Oscar Becerra & José-Alberto Guerra, 2021. "Valuing personal safety and the gender earnings gap," Documentos CEDE 18900, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:018900

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    Cited by:

    1. Fiala, Nathan & Garcia-Hernandez, Ana & Narula, Kritika & Prakash, Nishith, 2022. "Wheels of change: Transforming girls' lives with bicycles," Ruhr Economic Papers 943, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Nicolás Figueroa & José-Alberto Guerra & Francisco Silva, 2022. "The role of information in collective decisions," Documentos CEDE 20508, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    3. Nathan Fiala & Ana Garcia-Hernandez & Kritika Narula & Nishith Prakash, 2022. "Wheels of Change: Transforming Girls' Lives with Bicycles," CESifo Working Paper Series 9865, CESifo.
    4. Nathan Fiala & Ana Garcia-Hernandez & Kritika Narula & Nishith Prakash, 2022. "Wheels of Change: Transforming Girls’ Lives with Bicycles," Working papers 2022-04, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Safety concerns; willingness to pay; gender gaps; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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