Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales

Gender differences in wage expectations

Fernandes, Ana ; Huber, Martin ; Vaccaro, Giannina

(Working Papers SES ; 516)

Using a survey on wage expectations among students at two Swiss institutions of higher education, we examine the wage expectations of our respondents along two main lines. First, we investigate the rationality of wage expectations by comparing average expected wages from our sample with those of similar graduates; we further examine how our respondents revise their expectations when provided... More

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    Summary
    Using a survey on wage expectations among students at two Swiss institutions of higher education, we examine the wage expectations of our respondents along two main lines. First, we investigate the rationality of wage expectations by comparing average expected wages from our sample with those of similar graduates; we further examine how our respondents revise their expectations when provided information about actual wages. Second, using causal mediation analysis, we test whether the consideration of a rich set of personal and professional controls, namely concerning family formation and children in addition to professional preferences, accounts for the difference in wage expectations across genders. We find that males and females overestimate their wages compared to actual ones, and that males respond in an overconfident manner to information about outside wages. Despite the attenuation of the gender difference in wage expectations brought about by the comprehensive set of controls, gender generally retains a significant direct, unexplained effect on wage expectations.