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Gender Gaps in Performance: Evidence from Young Lawyers

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  • Ghazala Azmat
  • Rosa Ferrer

Abstract

This paper documents and studies the gender gap in performance among associate lawyers in the United States. Unlike most high-skilled professions, the legal profession has widely used objective methods to measure and reward lawyers’ productivity: the number of hours billed to clients and the amount of new client revenue generated. We find clear evidence of a gender gap in annual performance with respect to both measures. Male lawyers bill ten-percent more hours and bring in more than twice the new client revenue compared with female lawyers. We demonstrate that the differential impact across genders in the presence of young children and differences in aspirations to become a law-firm partner account for a large share of the difference in performance. These performance gaps have important consequences for gender gaps in earnings. While individual and firm characteristics explain up to 50 percent of the earnings gap, the inclusion of performance measures explains a substantial share of the remainder.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 604.

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Date of creation: Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:604

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Keywords: performance measures; gender gaps; lawyers;

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  1. Daniel Parent & John S. Heywood, 2009. "Performance Pay And The White-Black Wage Gap," Departmental Working Papers, McGill University, Department of Economics 2009-07, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  2. Rosen, S., 1991. "The Market for Lawyers," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center, Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-10, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  3. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
  4. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Sex and Risk: Experimental Evidence," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series, Monash University, Department of Economics archive-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. de la Rica, Sara & Dolado, Juan J. & Vegas, Raquel, 2010. "Performance Pay and the Gender Wage Gap: Evidence from Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 5032, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
  7. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-55, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Karimi, Arizo & Lindahl, Erica & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2012. "Labour supply responses to paid parental leave," Working Paper Series, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy 2012:22, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Angelov, Nikolay & Johansson, Per & Lindahl, Erica, 2013. "Is the persistent gender gap in income and wages due to unequal family responsibilities?," Working Paper Series, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy 2013:3, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. Josef Montag, 2014. "What Drives the Gender Gap? An Analysis Using Sexual Orientation," CERGE-EI Working Papers, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague wp505, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.

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