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An Economic Theory of the Glass Ceiling

Author

Listed:
  • Paul A. Grout
  • In-Uck Park
  • Silvia Sonderegger

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Abstract

The glass ceiling is one of the most controversial and emotive aspects of employment in organisations. This paper provides a model of the glass ceiling that exhibits the following features that are frequently thought to characterise the problem: (i) there is a lower number of female employees in higher positions, (ii) women have to work harder than men to obtain equivalent jobs, (iii) women are then paid less than men when promoted, and (iv) some organisations are more female friendly than others. These features emerge as an equilibrium phenomenon, when identical firms compete in "Bertrand-like" fashion. Furthermore, they also occur even when offering women the same contract as men in higher positions would be sufficient to ensure that women in those positions would always prefer permanent career over non-market alternatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul A. Grout & In-Uck Park & Silvia Sonderegger, 2007. "An Economic Theory of the Glass Ceiling," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 07/183, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:07/183
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    File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp183.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. David W. Johnston & Wang-Sheng Lee, 2012. "Climbing the Job Ladder: New Evidence of Gender Inequity," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 129-151, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Glass Ceiling; Promotions; Career Options;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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