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An Economic Theory of the Glass Ceiling

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Author Info

  • Paul A. Grout
  • In-Uck Park
  • Silvia Sonderegger

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Abstract

The glass ceiling is one of the most controversial and emotive aspects of employment in organisations. This paper provides a model of the glass ceiling that exhibits the following features that are frequently thought to characterise the problem: (i) there is a lower number of female employees in higher positions, (ii) women have to work harder than men to obtain equivalent jobs, (iii) women are then paid less than men when promoted, and (iv) some organisations are more female friendly than others. These features emerge as an equilibrium phenomenon, when identical firms compete in "Bertrand-like" fashion. Furthermore, they also occur even when offering women the same contract as men in higher positions would be sufficient to ensure that women in those positions would always prefer permanent career over non-market alternatives.

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File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp183.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 07/183.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:07/183

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Keywords: Glass Ceiling; Promotions; Career Options;

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  1. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  2. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
  3. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  4. repec:ese:iserwp:2005-25 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. T. Clifton Green & Narasimhan Jegadeesh & Yue Tang, 2007. "Gender and Job Performance: Evidence from Wall Street," NBER Working Papers 12897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 163-186, January.
  7. Kanazawa, Satoshi, 2005. "Is "discrimination" necessary to explain the sex gap in earnings?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 269-287, April.
  8. Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2006. "Belief Flipping in a Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 12174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Coate, S. & Loury, G.C., 1992. "Will Affirmative Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," Papers 3, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  10. Cecilia Rouse & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 715-741, September.
  11. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  12. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1990. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Job Ladders," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S106-23, January.
  13. David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1995. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," NBER Working Papers 5024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
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