IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Gender differences in promotion into top-management jobs


  • Bell, Linda

    (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Smith, Nina

    () (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Smith, Valdemar

    () (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Verner, Mette

    () (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)


In this paper the promotion process of top executive officers (CEOs) in Danish private firms is analysed. The main research question to be analysed is whether the lower chances for women to become promoted into top management jobs are mainly attributable to individual background characteristics and special focus is given to the effects of family related variables. The descriptive statistics suggest that the family background (marital status, number of children, spouse labour force participation, education and occupation) differs substantially by gender of individuals in top management. Furthermore, we will try to detect whether women in women-led companies are more likely to be promoted than women in firms managed by men only. The regression results show that the child variables have different effects for women (none) than for men (positive). This is interpreted as evidence of statistical discrimination of women, as the (potential) negative effect of children and parental leave behaviour is included in the constant term and hence applies to all women in the pool of potentials. Furthermore, males’ career opportunities are declining if the wife is working, whereas the women’s careers are only affected if their husbands have a high level occupation. The results also suggest that women employed in women-led firms are more likely to be promoted than in the case of not women-led firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Bell, Linda & Smith, Nina & Smith, Valdemar & Verner, Mette, 2008. "Gender differences in promotion into top-management jobs," Working Papers 08-21, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2008_021

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pissarides, C A, 1979. "Job Matchings with State Employment Agencies and Random Search," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(356), pages 818-833, December.
    2. José Ignacio García Pérez & Yolanda Rebollo Sanz, 2005. "A Structural Estimation to Evaluate the Wage Penalty after Unemployment in Europe," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2005/15, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    3. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
    4. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
    5. Forslund, Anders & Johansson, Kerstin, 2007. "Random and stock-flow models of labour market matching - Swedish evidence," Working Paper Series 2007:11, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    6. Gabriele Cardullo & Bruno Van der Linden, 2007. "Employment Subsidies and Substitutable Skills: An Equilibrium Matching Approach," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 53(4), pages 375-404.
    7. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
    8. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C, 2004. "Effective Active Labour Market Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 4707, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Uwe Sunde, 2007. "Empirical Matching Functions: Searchers, Vacancies, and (Un-)biased Elasticities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(295), pages 537-560, August.
    10. Kluve, Jochen, 2006. "The Effectiveness of European Active Labor Market Policy," RWI Discussion Papers 37, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
    11. Kluve, Jochen, 2006. "The Effectiveness of European Active Labor Market Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 2018, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Davide Sala & Erdal Yalcin, 2012. "Export Experience of Managers and the Internationalization of Firms," ifo Working Paper Series 139, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    2. Steven Bednar & Dora Gicheva, 2014. "Are Female Supervisors More Female-Friendly?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 370-375, May.
    3. Davide Sala & Erdal Yalcin, 2015. "Export Experience of Managers and the Internationalisation of Firms," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(7), pages 1064-1089, July.
    4. Yalcin, Erdal & Sala, Davide, 2011. "The Role of Management in the Internationalization Process of a Firm," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48706, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item


    Promotion process; Gender differences; Top management;

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2008_021. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Helle Vinbaek Stenholt). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.