Legitimization of Wage Penalties for Mothers and Wage Premia for Fathers – Results of a Vignette Study.

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Kinga WYSIENSKA-DI CARLO, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Zbigniew KARPINSKI, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Gender wage gaps and wage penalties for mothers are well-established phenomena. Their persistence may be partially explained by the fact that the unequal distribution of rewards between genders is often perceived as just and legitimate. The goal of our study was to establish how different conditions affect perceptions of just inequalities. Using status characteristics and double standards theories, we predicted that status consistency/inconsistency between genders and occupational status and years of experience will be most relevant. Specifically, we anticipate that there will be greater acceptance of unequal distribution of rewards between women and men with the same job experience in top-level occupations (status inconsistency), and less acceptance of inequality in bottom and medium level occupations (status consistency). We also predicted that an additional factor, parenthood, would accentuate the relationship between gender and the aforementioned characteristics. A vignette study conducted in 2017 on a representative sample of Polish respondents active in the labor force, which yielded approximately 38,000 observations, provided evidence conforming to our predictions. That is, differences in just earnings for men and women are larger in the high occupational status category than in the medium and low occupational status categories. The size of the legitimized difference in earnings also varies by age and parenthood status. We found, however, rather moderate levels of motherhood penalties and much higher premia for fatherhood. Both the motherhood and fatherhood effects increase with the age of the person described in the vignette, although the effect of age was curvilinear and plateaued around age 60. Perceptions of legitimized inequalities between genders were independent of respondents’ characteristics.