Women earn less than men but are not less satisfied with life. This paper explores whether norms regarding the appropriate pay for women compared to men may explain these findings. In order to capture the spatial variation in such norms, we take community level information on citizens' approval of an equal rights amendment to the Swiss constitution as a proxy for the norm that “women and men shall have the right to equal pay for work of equal value”. We find that the gender wage gap is smaller where a larger fraction of the citizenry has voted in favor of equal pay. We also find that employed women are less (not more) satisfied with life in liberal communities where the gender wage gap is smaller. These findings are consistent with the idea that norms regarding the appropriate relative pay of women compared to men are shaping gender differences in well-being.
equal rights gender discrimination gender wage gap social norms subjective well-being