African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4164

Full Length Research Paper

Is a woman’s name worthless? An experiment related to the gender wage gap

Thorlakur Karlsson
  • Thorlakur Karlsson
  • Department of Psychology, School of Business, Reykjavík University, Reykjavík, Iceland.
  • Google Scholar
Margret Jonsdottir Njardvik
  • Margret Jonsdottir Njardvik
  • Mundo, Hringbraut 98, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland.
  • Google Scholar
Holmfridur Vilhjalmsdottir
  • Holmfridur Vilhjalmsdottir
  • Laufasborg, Laufasvegi 53-55, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 26 May 2020
  •  Accepted: 07 August 2020
  •  Published: 30 September 2020


On average, women earn less than men. This is evident in countries with the largest economies of the world. The purpose of this research is to discover whether a woman’s name rather than that of a man contributes to this difference. In an experiment involving 281 employees from several companies, participants were asked to pretend that they were human resource managers. They were required to offer a salary to a female or male applicant for a sales representative or manager’s job, and to also suggest a salary for a niece or nephew for similar jobs. Participants received identical curriculum vitae (CV) for each job, but half who were randomly selected received a female name on the CV and the other half a male name. On five measures for both jobs, all female applicants and nieces “received” lower salaries than male applicants and nephews, irrespective of their gender, age, or position.
Key words: Gender, wage gap, salaries, experiment, differences.