According to a study by the German Center for European Economic Research, women in a relationship where they earn more than their partners often deliberately lie in surveys and say the opposite is true.
The reason behind this trend is the deeply-rooted assumption that the best model for the family is the one in which a man provides for the family.
Although many people consider this notion an outdated social norm, many women allegedly subconsciously identify with it.
“Many respondents adjust their responses to match the male breadwinner model,” said Michael Slotwinski, one of the study’s co-authors of the University of Basel in Switzerland.
On a large sample of the population, the researchers compared official statistics on incomes with earnings reported by respondents in surveys, which are often used as evidence for the gender pay gap.
“The percentage of couples in which a woman earns more than a man but declares lower earnings is 34.56 percent,” said Slotwinski.
Both genders deliberately misrepresent income information as “both men and women want their answers to fit in the norm,” added the study’s co-author.
Lying about income was prevalent in those couples in which women had the same or lower education than men, or even worked fewer hours while earning more money than their husband or partner.
However, couples also often slightly distorted information on income in the case that a woman earned less than a man.
According to researchers, the trend is simple. “Women deliberately declare lower incomes while men exaggerate them,” the study said.
If couples were honest about their incomes in the surveys, the difference between male and female incomes in Swiss households would be 9.4 to 13.5 percent lower than official statistics.
According to the same statistics, women in the EU earn on average of 16 percent less than men, while in the Czech Republic, the figure is slightly higher, up to 21 percent.
However, as certain media outlets have pointed out, the findings of the German Center for European Economic Research may not apply to all of Europe.