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The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs

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  • Marianne Bertrand
  • Kevin Hallock

Abstract

This paper studies the gender compensation gap among high-level executives in US corporations. We use the ExecuComp data set that contains information on total compensation for the top five highest paid executives of a large group of US firms over the period 1992-1997. About 2.5% of the executives in the sample are women. These women earn about 45% less than their male counterparts. As much as 75% of this gap can be accounted for by the fact that women manage smaller companies and are less likely to be CEO, Chair, or President of their company. The unexplained gender gap can be reduced to less than 5% when one further accounts for the fact that female executives are younger and have less seniority than male executives. Over the period under study, women have nearly tripled their participation in the top executive ranks and have also strongly improved their relative compensation, mostly by gaining representation into the larger corporations. While the absence of a significant gender gap (once we control for measurable characteristics) implies that women and men who hold similar jobs in firms of similar size received fairly equal treatment in terms of compensation, it does not rule out the possibility of discrimination in terms of gender segregation or promotion.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 805.

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Date of creation: Oct 1999
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp01ks65hc21s

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Related research

Keywords: gender compensation gap; large corporation; discrimination;

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References

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  1. Erica L. Groshen, 1991. "The Structure of the Female/Male Wage Differential: Is It Who You Are, What You Do, or Where You Work?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 457-472.
  2. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691, August.
  3. Johnson, George E & Stafford, Frank P, 1974. "The Earnings and Promotion of Women Faculty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 888-903, December.
  4. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
  5. 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.
  6. Debra A. Barbezat, 1987. "Salary Differentials by Sex in the Academic Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(3), pages 422-428.
  7. Sherwin Rosen, 1990. "Contracts and the Market for Executives," NBER Working Papers 3542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," NBER Working Papers 5366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Peter F. Kostiuk, 1990. "Firm Size and Executive Compensation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(1), pages 90-105.
  10. Blau, Francine D & Ferber, Marianne A, 1987. "Discrimination: Empirical Evidence from the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 316-20, May.
  11. repec:nsr:niesrd:50 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Ransom, Michael R. & Megdal, Sharon Bernstein, 1993. "Sex differences in the academic labor market in the affirmative action era," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 21-43, March.
  13. Wood, Robert G & Corcoran, Mary E & Courant, Paul N, 1993. "Pay Differences among the Highly Paid: The Male-Female Earnings Gap in Lawyers' Salaries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 417-41, July.
  14. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
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