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Glass Ceilings or Glass Doors? Wage Disparity Within and Between Firms


  • Pendakur, Krishna
  • Woodcock, Simon


We investigate whether immigrant and minority workers' poor access to high-wage jobs---that is, glass ceilings---is attributable to poor access to jobs in high-wage firms, a phenomenon we call glass doors. Our analysis uses linked employer-employee data to measure mean- and quantile-wage differentials of immigrants and ethnic minorities, both within and across firms. We find that glass ceilings exist for some immigrant groups, and that they are driven in large measure by glass doors. For some immigrant groups, the sorting of these workers across firms accounts for as much as half of the economy-wide wage disparity they face.
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  • Pendakur, Krishna & Woodcock, Simon, 2010. "Glass Ceilings or Glass Doors? Wage Disparity Within and Between Firms," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(1), pages 181-189.
  • Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:28:i:1:y:2010:p:181-189

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 163-186, January.
    2. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Sara Rica & Juan Dolado & Vanesa Llorens, 2008. "Ceilings or floors? Gender wage gaps by education in Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 751-776, July.
    5. Koenker, Roger, 2004. "Quantile regression for longitudinal data," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 74-89, October.
    6. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, March.
    7. Joshua Angrist & Victor Chernozhukov & Iván Fernández-Val, 2006. "Quantile Regression under Misspecification, with an Application to the U.S. Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 539-563, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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