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Gender gaps in performance: Evidence from young lawyers

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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 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 performance gaps have important consequences for gender gaps in earnings. While individual and firm characteristics explain up to 50 percent of earnings gap, the inclusion of performance measures explains most of the remainder.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1300.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision: Mar 2012
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1300

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: performance measures; gender gaps; lawyers;

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  1. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  2. 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.
  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, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
  4. Daniel Parent & John S. Heywood, 2009. "Performance Pay And The White-Black Wage Gap," Departmental Working Papers 2009-07, McGill 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," CEPR Discussion Papers 7936, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Rosen, S., 1991. "The Market for Lawyers," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-10, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  7. 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.
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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 2012:22, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. 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.
  3. Angelov, Nikolay & Johansson, Per & Lindahl, Erica, 2013. "Is the persistent gender gap in income and wages due to unequal family responsibilities?," Working Paper Series 2013:3, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

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