Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 933–962 | Cite as

Approval of equal rights and gender differences in well-being

  • Rafael LaliveEmail author
  • Alois Stutzer
Orignial Paper


Women earn less than men but are not less satisfied with life. This paper explores whether norms regarding the appropriate pay for women compared to men may explain these findings. We find that the gender wage gap is smaller where a larger fraction of the citizenry has voted in favor of equal pay. We also find that employed women are less (not more) satisfied with life in liberal communities where the gender wage gap is smaller. These findings suggest that norms regarding the appropriate relative pay of women compared to men are shaping gender differences in well-being.


Gender discrimination Gender wage gap Subjective well-being 

JEL Classification

I31 J70 Z13 



We are grateful to two anonymous referees, George Akerlof, Bruno S. Frey, Ed Glaeser, Lorenz Götte, Andreas Kuhn, Audrey Light, Simon Lüchinger, Stephan Meier, Tuomas Pekkarinen, Dina Pomeranz, Betsey Stevenson, Josef Zweimüller, and participants at the 1st International Panel User Conference in Switzerland, EALE, the IZA Workshop on “The Nature of Discrimination”, the Annual Meeting of the German Economic Association, the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, the Annual Congress of the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, the Annual Meeting of the European Public Choice Society, and the research seminar at the University of Würzburg for helpful comments and to Andreas Herzog for the use of mapresso. This study has been realized using the data collected by the Swiss Household-Panel, a project financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation Program, SPP, “Switzerland Towards the Future” (grant no. 5004-53205).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EconomicsUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Business and EconomicsUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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