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Glass Ceilings or Sticky Floors?


  • Booth, Alison L
  • Francesconi, Marco
  • Frank, Jeff


According to surprising raw data from the British Household Panel Survey, full-time women are more likely than men to be promoted. Controlling for observed and unobserved individual heterogeneity, we find that women are promoted at roughly the same rate as men, but receive smaller wage increases consequent upon promotion. These facts contradict the conventional view that 'glass ceilings' limit the promotion of women. They are consistent with our new 'sticky floors' model of discrimination where women are just as likely as men to be promoted, but find themselves stuck at the bottom of the wage scale for the new grade.

Suggested Citation

  • Booth, Alison L & Francesconi, Marco & Frank, Jeff, 1998. "Glass Ceilings or Sticky Floors?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1965, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1965

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Stacy Dickert & Scott Houser & John Karl Scholz, 1995. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and Transfer Programs: A Study of Labor Market and Program Participation," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 9, pages 1-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2001. "Getting Ahead: The Determinants of Payoffs to Internal Promotion for Young U.S. Men and Women," CEPR Discussion Papers 430, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    2. Boheim, Rene & Taylor, Mark P., 2002. "The search for success: do the unemployed find stable employment?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(6), pages 717-735, December.
    3. Pudney, Stephen & Shields, Michael A, 2000. " Gender and Racial Discrimination in Pay and Promotion for NHS Nurses," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 62(0), pages 801-835, Special I.
    4. Fryer, Roland Jr., 2007. "Belief flipping in a dynamic model of statistical discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1151-1166, June.

    More about this item


    gender gaps; glass ceilings; Promotion;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations


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