Gender pay transparency

Last registered on December 15, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Gender pay transparency
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006712
Initial registration date
December 10, 2020
Last updated
December 15, 2020, 4:19 PM EST

Locations

Region
Region
Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2020-12-10
End date
2020-12-23
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study aims at identifying the effects of different policy options to support the proper enforcement of the equal pay principle.
We will implement an incentivized online experiment in three EU member states: Poland, Spain, and Germany. Further, two samples within each member state are being recruited: a representative sample of the employed adult population, and a sample of HR professionals and managers. The first sample, representing employees in the experiment, will be representative in terms of age, gender, and region. The second sample, representing employers in the experiment, will be drawn from a cross-section of sectors and companies of different sizes and will be balanced in terms of gender.
Employees and employers will form a company and they will take decisions affecting each other's payoffs. In particular, employers will know the gender and have incomplete information about the potential performance of prospective employees. Employers will set the wages and career promotions under a budgetary constraint. Employees will work for their employers, deciding the level of effort they wish to exert, and receive a wage in exchange.
The experimental methodology translates real policy options into the following experimental conditions:
- Option 0: No change of policy (baseline scenario).
- Option 1: Right of employees to information on pay levels. Employees receive information on their wage and position, how many men and women work in the company, and the average wage overall and by gender, but only for their position. This information will be provided automatically.
- Option 2: Reporting on Pay. Employees receive information on their wage and position, how many men and women work in the company and in each position, and the average wage overall and by gender, for each position in the company.
The study aims at investigating the following outcome variables:
– Average level of gender pay discrimination under each treatment (employer’s behaviour);
– Employees productivity and inferred effort;
– Employee’s (costly) action against employer (contentiousness).
At the end of the experiment a post-experimental survey will be administered to respondents. The post-experimental survey consists of a set of closed general socio-demographic questions, not sensitive in nature (i.e. gender, age, employment status, hours worked per week, education). Furthermore, a number of behavioural measures, such ask risk preferences, fairness, reciprocity, and intrinsic motivation, are included. Lastly, the elicitation of beliefs on own and others performance, as well as others strategic behaviour, will be incorporated by means of incentivised introspection.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Baggio, Marianna and Ginevra Marandola. 2020. "Gender pay transparency." AEA RCT Registry. December 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6712-2.0
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Employees and employers will form a company and affect each other payoffs by making a set of choices. In particular, employers will know the gender and have incomplete information about the potential performance of prospective employees. The incomplete information is based on a screening test that places employees into either Group A or B, depending on whether their performance is better or worse that a defined threshold. Employers will also set the wages and career promotions under a budgetary constraint. Employees will work for their employers, deciding the level of effort they wish to exert, and receive a wage in exchange. Under certain circumstances employees can ask for compensation for unfair treatment.

The devised labour market experiment translates policy options in the following treatments:
- T0: No change of policy (baseline scenario). Employees only know their wage and position and how many men and women work in the company overall. After receiving this information, they are asked if they want to ask for compensation and then they perform the main task.
- T1: Right of employees to information on pay levels. Employees receive information on their wage and position, how many men and women work in the company, and the average wage overall and by gender, but only for their position. This information is provided automatically. After receiving this information, they are asked if they want to ask for compensation and then they perform the main task.
- T2: Reporting on Pay. Employees receive information on their wage and position, how many men and women work in the company, and the average wage overall and by gender in the managerial position and the clerical position. On the basis of this additional information they can request for compensation. They then perform the main task.

In each treatment, employers assign wages and positions twice. The first time they do not receive any feedback on the information available to employees and on their ability to ask for compensation. The second time employers set wages and positions knowing about employees' ability to ask for compensation and knowing employees' level of information about others' wages and positions (treatments).
Intervention Start Date
2020-12-10
Intervention End Date
2020-12-23

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Gender pay discrimination under each treatment;
2. Individual level of gender pay discrimination by employer;
3. Employees productivity and inferred effort;
4. Employee’s (costly) action against employer (contentiousness).
5. Employee's gift exchange/intrinsic motivation
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Gender pay discrimination under each treatment. This is a dummy variable equal to 1 if the average wage for women is lower than the average wage for men, including both clerks wages and manager wages. The average of the variable returns the proportion of employers who are discriminating. We will also construct a mirror variable for discrimination against men.
2. Individual level of gender pay discrimination by employer is a dummy variable equal to 1 if the average women wage in group A is lower than the average men wage in group A (including both clerks wages and manager wages) and/or the average women wage in group B is lower than the average men wage in group B (including both clerks wages and manager wages). In a robustness check this variable may be further refined to take into account ambiguous cases where the intention to discriminate is not clear enough. We will also construct a mirror variable for discrimination against men.
3. Employees productivity in the number of correct strings and the number of attempted strings.
4. Employee costly action against the employer is a dummy equal to 1 if the employee requests compensation
5. Employee's gift exchange/intrinsic motivation is a dummy equal to 1 if the employee continues performing the task after the threshold and the number of strings attempted and correct after the threshold. To disentangle the reasons behind extra effort we include a survey question where we ask why they did not stop working once the threshold was met.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Employers beliefs on employees' performance by gender and group in the screening test and main task.
Employees beliefs on own performance and other employees' performance by gender and group in the screening test and main task.
Employees' second order beliefs on employers.
Risk aversion of employers and employees
Employee's motivation behind asking for compensation
Employers' beliefs on fairness of different wage distribution strategies
Employers' beliefs on potential share of employees asking for compensation
Employees' beliefs on employers' wage strategies
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
These are all measured in the ex-post questionnaire. They will be transformed in dummy variables or discrete variables.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In each Country the participants are:
-900 employees
-150 employers
One employer will be asked to make decisions referring to 18 employees, leading to a final match by random draw to six employees (for the purpose of calculating the final payment). the 6 employees will perform a task and make some decisions that will affect their employer's payoffs.
There will be 2 experiments:
1. First the one with the employers [EXP1], and once this will be finalized
2. The one with employees (for which the results of EXP1 are necessary) [EXP2]
Employers are asked to set wages for 6 groups of 3 employees (18 profiles). They will also have the possibility to promote 3 of the 18 employees to a managerial position. The wage set for the clerical employees can be high or low, employers have a budget constraint and they cannot assign the high wage to all the employees. The employer knows the gender of the employees and their performance in a screening test, which is similar to the main task the employees will perform. According to the performance in the screening test employees will be assigned to group A (higher or equal than the threshold ) or group B (lower than the threshold). The threshold is the median performance in the pilot.
The task (string task by Isen and Reeve, 2006) has the following key characteristics:
• Not gender stereotypical;
• Real effort task (for the measurement of productivity and inferred effort);
• Allows for “categories” (i.e. managerial/clerical) to which different thresholds for completing the task apply.
Employers get paid based on employees' performance in the task. Employers know that employees can ask for compensation if they think that they were not given a fair wage. A compensation is granted when colleagues who performed better or equal in the screening test receive a higher wage than the one of the employee asking for compensation.
In the treatments, employers are asked to set the wages and positions knowing that:
T0: employees only know their wage and position and are clueless about their wage being high or low
T1: employees know their wage and position and they know the average wage, also by gender, in their own position
T2: employees know their wage and position and they know the average wage, also by gender, in their own position and the number of men and women in the managerial position and their wage.

Under the information set described in T0, T1, T2 employees perform the screening test, the main task and can ask for compensation. In the main task employees need to reach a threshold to get their wage. They can also work beyond the threshold with the purpose to increase the employer's earnings knowing that this extra work will not affect their payoffs.
Experimental Design Details
In each Country the participants are:
-900 employees
-150 employers
One employer will be asked to make decisions referring to 18 employees, leading to a final match by random draw to six employees (for the purpose of calculating the final payment). The 6 employees will perform a task and make some decisions that will affect their employer's payoffs.
There will be 2 experiments:
1. First the one with the employers [EXP1], and once this will be finalized
2. The one with employees (for which the results of EXP1 are necessary) [EXP2]
Employers are asked to set wages for 6 groups of 3 employees (18 profiles). The wage set for the clerical employees can be high or low, employers have a budget constraint and they cannot assign the high wage to all the employees. Employers will also have the possibility to promote 3 of the 18 employees to a managerial position. The employer knows the gender of the employees and their performance in a screening test, which is similar to the main task the employees will perform. According to the performance in the screening test employees will be assigned to group A (higher or equal than the threshold) or group B (lower than the threshold). The threshold is the median performance in a pilot experiment (done with 900 employers and 150 employees).
The task (based on the string task by Isen and Reeve, 2006) consists in identifying strings in alphabetical order and has the following key characteristics:
• Not gender stereotypical;
• Real effort task (for the measurement of productivity and inferred effort);
• Allows for “categories” (i.e. managerial/clerical) to which different thresholds for completing the task apply.
Employers get paid based on employees' performance in the task.
In the treatments, employers are asked to set the wages and positions twice. Before setting wages for the second time employers receive additional information. Employers are told that employees can ask for compensation if they think that they were not given a fair wage. A compensation is granted when colleagues who performed better or equal in the screening test receive a higher wage than the one of the employee asking for compensation.
Employers are also informed that:
T0: employees only know their wage and position and are not aware of their wage being high or low
T1: employees know their wage and position and they know the average wage, also by gender, in their own position. They can then infer if their wage is high or low.
T2: employees know their wage and position and they know the average wage, also by gender, in their own position, the number of men and women in the managerial position and their wage. They can then infer if their wage is high or low.
Employees' profiles shown to each employer are randomly selected out of 12 pre-determined triples. The triples always contain the two genders, but they might contain only one group (A or B). The aggregate distribution of triples is the same across treatments. Gender discrimination can be compared between treatments at aggregate level and within treatment at individual level.
Under the information set described in T0, T1, T2 employees perform the screening test, the main task and can ask for compensation. In the main task employees need to reach a threshold to get their wage. The threshold is lower (120 strings) for clerks compared to managers (170 strings). They can also work beyond the threshold with the purpose to increase the employer's earnings knowing that this extra work will not affect their payoffs. In the employees’ survey it is not straightforward to disentangle the effect of the treatments through a change in discrimination levels (change in employers' behaviour in setting wages and promotions) from the one through employees' reaction to additional information. However, it is possible to compare the effect of the treatments on employees through multivariate analysis by controlling for employees' characteristics (wage and position) and for the observed level of discrimination.
Randomization Method
Randomization done by panel provider by a computer using pre-determined quotas.
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
no clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
2700 employees and 450 employers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
150 employers T0 (baseline), 150 employers T1, 150 employers T2.
900 employees T0 (baseline), 900 employees T1, 900 employees T2.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Aggregating the three countries (300 obs) the minimum detectable decrease in discrimination is -0.1558 with respect to a baseline level of discrimination equal to 0.37 with an sd of 0.48. Power=0.8. For each individual country (100 obs) the detectable decrease would be -0.27 Aggregating the three countries (300 obs) the minimum detectable decrease in individual discrimination is -0.1493 with respect to a baseline level of discrimination equal to 0.3 with an sd of 0.46. Power=0.8. For each individual country (100 obs) the minimum detectable decrease in individual discrimination is -0.26 With chi-square test of proportions delta is very similar, respectively -0.1473 and -0.136 when aggregating countries. Aggregating the three countries (1200 obs) the minimum detectable increase in request for compensation is 0.08 with respect to a baseline level equal to 0.37 with an sd of 0.48. Power=0.8. For each individual country (600 obs) the detectable increase would be 0.11 Aggregating the three countries (1200 obs) the minimum detectable decrease in effort is -8.98 with respect to a baseline level equal to 173.44 with an sd of 55.5. Power=0.8 . For each individual country the detectable decrease would be -12.72 Please note that the estimates used for the power analysis are those of a pilot study with a sample size of 900 employees and 150 employers.
Supporting Documents and Materials

Documents

Document Name
Pilot survey screens employees
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
These are the survey screens for employees. Some minor changes may still be implemented before launching data collection.
File
Pilot survey screens employees

MD5: 3e4881eb7ff6a95959ecbae06ada863c

SHA1: fb695a47083815e5d014327e655aa27055398afa

Uploaded At: December 15, 2020

Document Name
Pilot survey screens employers
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
These are the survey screens for employers. Some minor changes may still be implemented before launching data collection.
File
Pilot survey screens employers

MD5: 295cdb494d0d9d5906f190f2e23a93fd

SHA1: 5a29a5bb31e12dbaa11c2a2f2a1fa289d7ce100e

Uploaded At: December 01, 2020

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
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