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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 uses widely-accepted and 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. Male lawyers bill ten-percent more hours and bring in more than double the new client revenue. We show that the differential impact across genders in the presence of young children and the differences in aspirations to become a law-firm partner account for a large part of the difference in performance. These gaps in performance have important consequences for gender gaps in earnings. While individual and firm characteristics explain up to 50 percent of the gap in earnings, the inclusion of performance measures explains most of the remainder.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1136.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1136

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: performance measures; gender gaps; lawyers;

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References

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  1. Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts In The Presence Of Career Concerns: Theory And Evidence," Working papers 563, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Rosen, S., 1991. "The Market for Lawyers," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-10, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  3. Daniel Parent & John S. Heywood, 2009. "Performance Pay And The White-Black Wage Gap," Departmental Working Papers 2009-07, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  4. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  5. de la Rica, Sara & Dolado, Juan J. & Vegas, Raquel, 2010. "Performance Pay and the Gender Wage Gap: Evidence from Spain," CEPR Discussion Papers 7936, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, 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, vol. 2(3), pages 228-55, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Angelov, Nikolay & Johansson, Per & Lindahl, Erica, 2013. "Is the persistent gender gap in income and wages due to unequal family responsibilities?," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2013:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Karimi, Arizo & Lindahl, Erica & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2012. "Labour Supply Responses to Paid Parental Leave," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:20, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Josef Montag, 2014. "What Drives the Gender Gap? An Analysis Using Sexual Orientation," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp505, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.

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