Compared to men the earnings of women in Europe are still significantly lower than of men. With identical qualifications and occupations female workers in Germany earn on average 7% less than their male counterparts (adjusted wage gap). The difference in the middle income is about 21% (unadjusted wage gap), if qualifications and occupations are not regarded.

This huge difference is mainly due to the fact that women are much more often employed in jobs at the lower end of the wage distribution and that they have longer and more frequent family related employment interruptions than men. Until now no lasting improvements could be achieved in collective bargaining for occupations, which are often done by women. According to the German Minister for Family Affairs Kristina Schröder “we need a debate about what role a fair chance and fair pay for women actually play in collective bargaining. Who wants to decrease the income gap between men and women, has to look to the causes of discrimination against women in the working world” (Press release from 03-22-2012).

To this debate, this project attempts to contribute. By means of economic experiments we try to get insights into the effects that collective bargaining has on the wage gap, and how an increase of transparency could affect the extent of such effects. Collective bargaining relates to any situation in which representatives of a group deal on wages for this group; collective bargaining between unions and employers associations is the most important variant. The project aims to prove statements like “more information about discriminatory effects of rules implies a smaller wage gap / does not change the wage gap”.

Through the close cooperation between the Chair for Economics and Economic Theory, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the expertise in the fields of experimental economic research (Chair for Economics and Economic Theory) and traditional labour market research (IAB) is brought together. This allows for further empirical analyses of experimental results and implications.