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Do Women Top Managers Help Women Advance? A Panel Study Using EEO-1 Records

  • Kurtulus, Fidan Ana


    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Tomaskovic-Devey, Donald

    (North Carolina State University)

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    The goal of this study is to examine whether women in the highest levels of firms' management ranks help reduce barriers to women's advancement in the workplace. Using a panel of over 20,000 private-sector firms across all industries and states during 1990-2003 from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, we explore the influence of women in top management on subsequent female representation in lower-level managerial positions in U.S. firms. Our key findings show that an increase in the share of female top managers is associated with subsequent increases in the share of women in mid-level management positions within firms, and this result is robust to controlling for firm size, workforce composition, federal contractor status, firm fixed effects, year fixed effects and industry-specific trends. Moreover, although the influence of women in top management positions is strongest among white women, black, Hispanic and Asian women in top management also have a positive influence on subsequent increases in black, Hispanic and Asian women in mid-level management, respectively. Furthermore, the influence of women in top management positions is stronger among federal contractors, and in firms with larger female labor forces. We also find that the positive influence of women in top leadership positions on managerial gender diversity diminishes over time, suggesting that women at the top play a positive but transitory role in women's career advancement.

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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6444.

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    Length: 41 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6444
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    1. James J. Heckman & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1976. "Does the contract compliance program work? An analysis of Chicago data," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 544-564, July.
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    4. 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..
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    9. Milgrom, Paul & Oster, Sharon, 1987. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces, and the Invisibility Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 453-76, August.
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    14. William J. Carrington & Kenneth R. Troske, 1995. "Gender Segregation in Small Firms," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 503-533.
    15. Giuliano, Laura & Levine, David I. & Leonard, Jonathan, 2006. "Do Race, Age, and Gender Differences Affect Manager-Employee Relations? An Analysis of Quits, Dismissals, and Promotions at a Large Retail Firm," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt9tc8n5j7, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    16. Donna S. Rothstein, 2001. "Supervisory Status and Upper-Level Supervisory Responsibilities: Evidence from the NLSY79," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(3), pages 663-680, April.
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