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Mommy tracks and public policy: on self-fulfilling prophecies and gender gaps in promotion

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  • Lommerud, Kjell Erik
  • Vagstad, Steinar

Abstract

Consider a model with two types of jobs. The profitability of promoting a worker to a fast-track job depends not only on his or her observable talent, but also on incontractible effort. We investigate whether self-fulfilling expectations may lead to higher promotion standards for women. If employers expect women to do more household work than men, thereby exerting less effort in their paid job, then women must be more talented to make promotion profitable. Moreover, specialization in the family will then result in women’s doing most of the household work. Such self-fulfilling prophecies can be defeated: both affirmative action and family policy can make women spend more effort in the market, which can lead the economy to a non-discriminatory equilibrium. However, we find that it is unlikely that temporary policy can move the economy to a symmetric equilibrium: policy must be made permanent. Anti-discrimination policy need not enhance efficiency, and from a distribution viewpoint this is a policy with both winners and losers. -- Nach wie vor ist das Arbeitsangebot von Frauen und Männern unterschiedlich, obwohl wenig Unterschiede bei den für den Arbeitsmarkt relevanten Fähigkeiten bestehen. Wenn Arbeitgeber erwarten, dass Frauen mehr Haushaltsarbeit übernehmen und daher weniger Leistung z.B. in Form von Überstunden zeigen, müssen Frauen mehr Talent besitzen, damit sich aus Sicht des Arbeitgebers eine Beförderung auf einen höheren Karrierepfad lohnt. Dies führt dazu, dass sich Frauen auf die Familie spezialisieren und somit zu einer selbsterfüllenden Prophezeiung. Wir kommen zu dem Ergebnis, dass Anti- Diskriminierungspolitik dazu führen kann, dass das Arbeitsangebot der Frauen erweitert wird; diese Politik muss jedoch permanent sein. Unter Wohlfahrtsgesichtspunkten ist die Wirkung einer solchen Politik nicht eindeutig.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance with number SP II 2006-10.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200610

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Keywords: Self-fulfilling prophecies; gender discrimination; promotion;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Bjørn Sandvik & Odd Rune Staume, 2003. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs and Redistribution," CESifo Working Paper Series 1022, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Sara de la Rica & Juan José Dolado & Cecilia García-Peñalosa, 2008. "On gender gaps and self-fulfilling expectations: Theory, policies and some empirical evidence," Working Papers 2008-24, FEDEA.
  3. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Vagstad, Steinar, 2006. "Mommy tracks and public policy: on self-fulfilling prophecies and gender gaps in promotion," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2006-10, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  4. John M. Evans, 2002. "Work/Family Reconciliation, Gender Wage Equity and Occupational Segregation: The Role of Firms and Public Policy," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(s1), pages 187-216, May.
  5. Sara Rica & Juan Dolado & Cecilia Garcia Peñalosa, 2012. "GINI DP 24: On gender gaps and self-fulfilling expectations: An alternative approach based on paid-for-training," GINI Discussion Papers 24, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  6. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_034, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  7. Juan J. Dolado & Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Sara de la Rica, 2013. "On gender gaps and self-fulfilling expectations: alternative implications of paid-for training," Working Papers 2013-13, FEDEA.
  8. Bjerk, David, 2009. "Beauty vs. earnings: Gender differences in earnings and priorities over spousal characteristics in a matching model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 248-259, March.
  9. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2009. "Production, Market Production and the Gender Wage Gap: Incentives and Expectations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 80-107, January.
  10. Bjerk, David & Han, Seungjin, 2005. "Assortative Marriage and the Effects of Government Homecare Subsidy Programs on Gender Wage and Participation Inequality," Microeconomics.ca working papers bjerk-05-11-21-10-55-45, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 06 Sep 2006.

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