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The Gender Pay Gap and Collective Wage Formation

Tildelt: kr 0,50 mill.

All over the world, women are paid, on average, 23% less than their male counterparts (United Nations, 2020). In countries explicitly committed to eliminating GPG, such as those in Europe, women still earn approximately 14% less than men do (Eurostat, 2020). Even in Scandinavia, a region considered a forerunner in offering equal opportunities for women and men, progress towards gender equality has been slow (Borchorst, 2008). In Europe, collective bargaining has been a key institutional measure for raising the wage floor and reducing the GPG. One might expect, then, that countries that exemplify the European social model, which includes highly coordinated collective bargaining regimes, would have minimal gender inequality. Surprisingly, this is not the case. For example, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, all known for their traditionally strong collective bargaining systems, have significant GPGs: 19.2% to 14.2%, 13.2% and 11.8%, respectively (Eurostat, 2020). Moreover, in all four countries, collective wage formation proceeds as part of a process called pattern bargaining, whereby the male-dominated manufacturing sector, which is exposed to international competition, takes the role of leading sector. Setting wages in this way—such that all sectors of the economy follow the pace-setting industry—means that male- and female-dominated sectors are locked into different bargaining areas. Is it possible that a strong collective bargaining system could be implicated in the persistence of the GPG? GENDERBARGAIN will investigate the relationship between the GPG and collective bargaining. Informed by studies in comparative political economy, comparative employment relations/industrial relations and gender studies, the project will entail a unique research design that will stress local/European connections, will perform a multi-level public/private sector analysis and will adopt a qualitative, ethnographic method.


POS-ERC-Støtte til ERC søkere som oppnår god evaluering