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Are There Glass Ceilings for Female Executives?

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Less than 10 percent of executives in large publicly traded firms are women. On average female executives earn less than male executives, and hold less senior positions. They retire earlier. This paper is an empirical study of these differences based on panel of about 2,500 firms and 16,000 executives tracked through 60 job titles over a 14 year period. We construct a simple career hierarchy to analyze promotion rates and compensation for males and females, controlling for firm and industry characteristics, as well as the executive's socioeconomic, demographic and background experience. At any given level in the career hierarchy, women are paid slightly more than men with the same background, have slightly less income uncertainty and are promoted as quickly. We conclude that the gender pay gap and differences in job rank in this most lucrative occupation is explained by females leaving the market at higher rates than males.

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Paper provided by Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business in its series GSIA Working Papers with number 2009-E8.

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Handle: RePEc:cmu:gsiawp:1733050961

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Postal: Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Web page: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/

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Web: http://student-3k.tepper.cmu.edu/gsiadoc/GSIA_WP.asp

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  1. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2006. "Gender and Dynamic Agency: Theory and Evidence on the Compensation of Female Top Executives," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-061, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "The Gender gap in top corporate jobs," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 3-21, October.
  3. Wolfers, Justin, 2006. "Diagnosing Discrimination: Stock Returns and CEO Gender," CEPR Discussion Papers 5507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919, November.
  5. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 2006. "The U.S. Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence," IZA Discussion Papers 2176, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-55, November.
  7. 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.
  8. Linda Datcher Loury, 1997. "The gender gap among college-educated workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(4), pages 580-593, July.
  9. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 6213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Dan A. Black & Amelia M. Haviland & Seth G. Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2008. "Gender Wage Disparities among the Highly Educated," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 630-659.
  12. Neal, Derek & Rosen, Sherwin, 2000. "Theories of the distribution of earnings," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 379-427 Elsevier.
  13. Margiotta, Mary M & Miller, Robert A, 2000. "Managerial Compensation and the Cost of Moral Hazard," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 669-719, August.
  14. McCue, Kristin, 1996. "Promotions and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 175-209, April.
  15. Donna K. Ginther & Shulamit Kahn, 2004. "Women in Economics: Moving Up or Falling Off the Academic Career Ladder?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 193-214, Summer.
  16. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution That Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 1-21, May.
  17. Altug, Sumru & Miller, Robert A, 1998. "The Effect of Work Experience on Female Wages and Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 45-85, January.
  18. Bell, Linda A., 2005. "Women-Led Firms and the Gender Gap in Top Executive Jobs," IZA Discussion Papers 1689, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Kathy J. Hayes & Donna K. Ginther, 1999. "Gender Differences in Salary and Promotion in the Humanities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 397-402, May.
  20. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Goldin, Claudia D. & Bertrand, Marianne & Katz, Lawrence F., 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," Scholarly Articles 8810041, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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