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Why Are So Few Females Promoted into CEO and Vice-President Positions? Danish Empirical Evidence 1997-2007

  • Smith, Nina


    (Aarhus University)

  • Smith, Valdemar


    (Aarhus School of Business)

  • Verner, Mette


    (Danish School of Media and Journalism)

In most OECD countries, only very few women succeed in reaching top executive positions. In this paper, the probability of promotion into VP and CEO positions is estimated based on employer-employee data on all Danish companies observed during the period 1997-2007. After controlling for a large number of family-related variables, including take-up history of maternity and paternity leave and proxies for 'female-friendly' companies, there is still a considerable gap in the promotion probabilities for CEO positions, but not for VP positions. Thus, the results cannot confirm recent theories on 'belief flipping' or disappearance of statistical discrimination against women who succeed getting into career track positions. The results reflect that the hiring decision and the decision to enter a top position as 'number one', i.e. CEO, in the organization is very different from the decision to hire or become VP, i.e. 'number two' or lower.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5961.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2013, 66 (2), 380-408
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5961
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  1. Nina Smith & Valdemar Smith & Mette Verne, 2011. "The gender pay gap in top corporate jobs in Denmark: Glass ceilings, sticky floors or both?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 156-177, May.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-55, July.
  3. Lundberg, Shelly, 2005. "Men and islands: Dealing with the family in empirical labor economics," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 591-612, August.
  4. Simon Fietze & Elke Holst & Verena Tobsch, 2009. "Personality and Career: She's Got What It Takes," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 955, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  6. Alison L. Booth & Patrick Nolen, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?," Economics Discussion Papers 672, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  7. Albrecht, J & Edin, P-A & Sundstrom, M & Vroman, S-B, 1996. "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earning : A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Papers 1996-23, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  8. David Bjerk, 2008. "Glass Ceilings or Sticky Floors? Statistical Discrimination in a Dynamic Model of Hiring and Promotion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 961-982, 07.
  9. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Frederiksen, Anders & Kato, Takao, 2011. "Human Capital and Career Success: Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee Data," IZA Discussion Papers 5764, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Albrecht, James & Björklund, Anders & Vroman, Susan, 2001. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," IZA Discussion Papers 282, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Booth, Alison L. & Francesconi, Marco & Frank, Jeff, 2003. "A sticky floors model of promotion, pay, and gender," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 295-322, April.
  13. McCue, Kristin, 1996. "Promotions and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 175-209, April.
  14. David A. Matsa & Amalia R. Miller, 2011. "Chipping Away at the Glass Ceiling: Gender Spillovers in Corporate Leadership," Working Papers 842, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  15. Francine Blau & Jed DeVaro, 2006. "New Evidence on Gender Differences in Promotion Rates: An Empirical Analysis of a Sample of New Hires," Working Papers 891, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  16. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Ronald L. Oaxaca & Nina Smith, 2006. "Swimming Upstream, Floating Downstream: Comparing Women's Relative Wage Progress in the United States and Denmark," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(2), pages 243-266, January.
  17. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:3:p:1067-1101 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Cobb-Clark, D., 1998. "Getting Ahead: the Determinants of and Payoffs to Internal Promotion for Young Men and Women," CEPR Discussion Papers 395, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  19. Amalia Miller, 2011. "The effects of motherhood timing on career path," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 1071-1100, July.
  20. Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2006. "Belief Flipping in a Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 12174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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