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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Projects and activities | Last updated: 15 Dec 2022

Behavioural study on the transparency on gender pay levels


The gender pay gap in the EU stands at 16% in 2017 (source: The gender pay gap situation in the EU). This means that women earn, on average, 16% less per hour than men.

One of the many reasons for the gender pay gap could be that women lack information on salary levels in the organisation they (plan to) work for. Better and more widespread transparency on gender pay levels could reduce the gap by allowing women to better negotiate their salary.

On the other hand, pay transparency measures could negatively affect firms: providing such information has a cost in itself, but could also lead to disputes and resent among employees, which eventually could harm productivity and lead to higher turnover in staff.


The purpose of this study is to assess the effect of gender pay transparency on employer and employee behaviour, and identify the best way to implement this policy. The study investigates both the positive and negative consequences of pay transparency measures for employers and employees, from a behavioural stance.


The study uses a combination of literature review and online experiments with real incentives.

Expected outcomes

The findings from this study should contribute to the objectives laid out in the Directive on equal employment opportunities/treatment for men and women.

Latest knowledge from this Project