The prominent paper of Bertrand, Pan and Kamenica (2015) investigates how gender identity norms shape economic outcomes. By using a variety of US survey and administrative data sets, they show a sharp drop in the relative income distribution just at the point where wives start to earn more than their husbands. They argue that this sharp discontinuity indicates operating gender norms because wives actively avoid earning more than their husbands.
This session brings together three papers from three European countries – Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland – which all revisit and reassess this prominent finding, i.e., that women’s incomes are disproportionately often observed just below the income of their partner, within different institutional and cultural contexts. Overall, the papers provide new evidence that stand in sharp contrast to the prominent findings exposed by the original Bertrand et al. (2015) paper.