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

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  • Lommerud, Kjell Erik
  • Straume, Odd Rune
  • Vagstad, Steinar

Abstract

Consider a model with two types of jobs. The profitability of hiring 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 hiring or 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 it profitable to hire them. Specialization in the family will then result in women doing most of the household work. Such self-fulfilling prophecies can be defeated by affirmative action or family policy. However, 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Straume, Odd Rune & Vagstad, Steinar, 2015. "Mommy tracks and public policy: On self-fulfilling prophecies and gender gaps in hiring and promotion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 540-554.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:116:y:2015:i:c:p:540-554
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.05.010
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-fulfilling prophecies; Gender discrimination; Hiring; Promotion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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