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The Gender Gap Among Top Business Executives

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  • Keller, Wolfgang
  • Molina, Teresa
  • Olney, Will

Abstract

This paper examines gender differences among top business executives using a large executive-employer matched data set spanning the last quarter century. Female executives make up 6.2% of the sample and we find they exhibit more labor market churning – both higher entry and higher exit rates. Unconditionally, women earn 26% less than men, which decreases to 7.9% once executive characteristics, firm characteristics, and in particular job title are accounted for. The paper explores the extent to which firm-level temporal flexibility and corporate culture can explain these gender differences. Although we find that women tend to select into firms with temporal flexibility and a female-friendly corporate culture, there is no evidence that this sorting drives the gender pay gap. However, we do find evidence that corporate culture affects pay gaps within firms: the within-firm gender pay gap disappears entirely at female-friendly firms. Overall, while both corporate culture and flexibility affect the female share of employment, only corporate culture influences the gender pay gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Keller, Wolfgang & Molina, Teresa & Olney, Will, 2020. "The Gender Gap Among Top Business Executives," CEPR Discussion Papers 15552, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15552
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Women; Executive compensation; Gender pay gap; Corporate culture;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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