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The Origen of Gender Inequality: Nurture vs. Nature and Quantifying Gender Preference

Project description

Why women still earn less than men

Over the years, Europe’s labour landscape has transformed in many ways. It’s shifted from a smaller, whiter and more low-skilled and labour-intensive workforce to one that’s diverse, knowledge-intensive, high-tech and services oriented. One thing has still not changed unfortunately: the gender pay gap. Women in Europe still earn around 16 % less than men. The EU-funded ORIGENDER project will investigate why workplace inequality has endured despite measures to reduce discrimination. The project will focus on the enduring traditional gender roles in the workplace. The aim is to advance knowledge of the role of gender norms in shaping the gender pay gap to support better policymaking.


Women continue to earn significantly less than men. This is true even in Scandinavia, a region long considered a forerunner in offering better opportunities for women to balance career and family. However, in recent decades progress towards gender equality has been slow. This has intrigued researchers and motivated public policies, such as gender quotas on corporate boards and parental leave earmarked to men, as in the recent EU proposal on work-life balance for parents and carers.

In the past, a significant part of the gender pay gap could be explained by differences in human capital and discriminatory wage policies, but the reduction of gender differences in education and the implementation of anti-discrimination policies have not removed the pay gap. This calls for further knowledge in order to aid attempts to close the gap. A recent literature highlights the influence of gender identity and norms in shaping the gender pay gap.

In ORIGENDER, I aim to advance our knowledge of the role of gender norms in shaping the gender pay gap by answering two key questions: 1) Why are gender roles on the labour market still so traditional, particularly in families with children? 2) Can we quantify how much individuals value traditional gender roles? The answers are both academically interesting and key to the design of public policy.

A MSCA GF will give me the possibility to answer these questions by combining the skills and knowledge of two vibrant research environments: Prof. Henrik Kleven’s research group at Princeton University, and the Center of Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI) at the University of Copenhagen. Both institutions employ world-leading economists in the areas of public policy and causal identification using (big) data and, via CEBI, I will have a secure link to the unique Danish data infrastructure and population wide administrative data, enabling me to make significant leaps in our understanding compared to existing literature.



Net EU contribution
€ 198 288,96
Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn

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Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Partners (1)