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What If Your Boss Is a Woman? Work Organization, Work-Life Balance and Gender Discrimination at the Workplace

Author

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  • Lucifora, Claudio

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • Vigani, Daria

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the association between female leadership, work organization practices and perceived gender discrimination within firms. Using data for 30 European countries for the period 1995-2010, we find that having a female "boss" is associated with lower overall gender discrimination at work. The female boss effect, however, differs across gender: it is associated with lower discrimination among female employees, but higher among male employees. We also investigate the underlying mechanisms that shape gender discrimination within firms. We find evidence of a "women helping women" pattern through spill-over effects which reduce discrimination among women, but increase discrimination among men, particularly in female-dominated jobs. A better balance between work and life, a supportive work environment and flexible working time, particularly for women in high-skilled jobs, are shown to be effective in reducing gender discrimination. The above findings are robust to a number of specification changes and different sub-populations in our sample. Further, similar results are found when more traditional measures of gender imbalance, such as wages or career prospects, are used. Finally, to account for potential endogeneity and selection, arising from the non-random distribution of females in higher-rank jobs, we jointly estimate the selection process and the discrimination equation, finding support for a causal interpretation of the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucifora, Claudio & Vigani, Daria, 2016. "What If Your Boss Is a Woman? Work Organization, Work-Life Balance and Gender Discrimination at the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 9737, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9737
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Clark, Andrew E. & D’Ambrosio, Conchita & Zhu, Rong, 2021. "Job quality and workplace gender diversity in Europe," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 420-432.
    2. Agata Maida & Andrea Weber, 2022. "Female Leadership and Gender Gap within Firms: Evidence from an Italian Board Reform," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 75(2), pages 488-515, March.
    3. Luca Flabbi & Mario Macis & Andrea Moro & Fabiano Schivardi, 2019. "Do Female Executives Make a Difference? The Impact of Female Leadership on Gender Gaps and Firm Performance," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(622), pages 2390-2423.
    4. Mario Bossler & Alexander Mosthaf & Thorsten Schank, 2016. "More Female Manager Hires through More Female Managers? Evidence from Germany," Working Papers 1618, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    5. Zoë Cullen & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2023. "The Old Boys' Club: Schmoozing and the Gender Gap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 113(7), pages 1703-1740, July.
    6. Jane Hurst & Sarah Leberman & Margot Edwards, 2018. "The career impacts of women managing women," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 43(1), pages 132-151, February.
    7. Alessandro Manello & Maurizio Cisi & Francesco Devicienti & Davide Vannoni, 2020. "Networking: a business for women," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 329-348, August.
    8. Mario Bossler & Alexander Mosthaf & Thorsten Schank, 2020. "Are Female Managers More Likely to Hire More Female Managers? Evidence from Germany," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 73(3), pages 676-704, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender discrimination; female leadership; work organization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions

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