The Gender Pay Gap: Can Behavioral Economics Provide Useful Insights?

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Heilman, Renata M. ; Kusev, Petko (2017)
  • Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
  • Journal: Frontiers in Psychology, volume 8 (issn: 1664-1078, eissn: 1664-1078)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00095, pmc: PMC5288362
  • Subject: Psychology | BF | gender pay gap | HQ | H1 | behavioral economics | HB | economic games | ultimatum game | gender differences | Opinion

People are faced with numerous decisions every day. Whether we must choose our outfit for the day, which cell phone brand to buy, what college to attend, to buy a car or house insurance, or even when or to whom to get married, decisions are a permanent presence in our daily activities. Behavioral economics is a multi-disciplinary field of study investigating how people make judgments and decisions (Camerer and Loewenstein, 2004; Heilman, 2014). Even though, from a historic point of view, behavioral economics is considered to be a relatively young field of research, the large number of studies that were undertaken and their theoretical and practical implications have made the field of behavioral economics increasingly visible among scholars. More importantly, they have also facilitated contexts to transform behavioral results into social policy programs. Starting in 2010, the UK government launched the Behavioral Insights Team, also known as The Nudge Unit, which was then followed by the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST), established by the Obama administration in 2014. Both teams aim to apply behavioral sciences, including behavioral economics, in governmental programs in order to increase people's quality of life at lower costs. The efforts of the Nudge Unit and the SBST or other agencies and individual researchers who are trying to improve people's overall quality of life should be supported by the research community through relevant scientific projects and by constantly finding new ways to capitalize research derived knowledge for the general use of a community.
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