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Pay Transparency and Cracks in the Glass Ceiling

Author

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  • Duchini, Emma

    (University of Warwick)

  • Simion, Stefania

    (University of Bristol)

  • Turrell, Arthur

    (King’s College London)

Abstract

This paper studies firms’ and employees’ responses to pay transparency requirements. Each year since 2018, more than 10,000 UK firms have been required to disclose publicly their gender pay gap and gender composition along the wage distribution. Theoretically, pay transparency is meant to act as an information shock that alters the bargaining power of male and female employees vis-a-vis the firm in opposite ways. Coupled with the potential negative effects of unequal pay on firms’ reputation, this shock could improve women’s relative occupational and pay outcomes. We test these theoretical predictions using a difference-in-differences strategy that exploits variations in the UK mandate across firm size and time. This analysis delivers four main findings. First, pay transparency increases women’s probability of working in above-median-wage occupations by 5 percent compared to the pre-policy mean. Second, while this effect has not yet translated into a significant rise in women’s pay, the policy leads to a 2.8 percent decrease in men’s real hourly pay, reducing the pre-policy gender pay gap by 15 percent. Third, combining the difference-in-differences strategy with a text analysis of job listings, we find suggestive evidence that treated firms adopt female-friendly hiring practices in ads for high-gender-pay-gap occupations. Fourth, a reputation motive seems to drive employers’ reactions, as firms publishing worse gender equality indicators score lower in YouGov Women’s Rankings. Moreover, publicly listed firms experience a 35-basis-point average fall in cumulative abnormal returns in the days following their publication of gender equality data JEL codes: J08 ; J16 ; J24

Suggested Citation

  • Duchini, Emma & Simion, Stefania & Turrell, Arthur, 2020. "Pay Transparency and Cracks in the Glass Ceiling," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1311, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1311
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Gulyas & Sebastian Seitz & Sourav Sinha, 2020. "Does Pay Transparency Affect the Gender Wage Gap? Evidence From Austria," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_194v1, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    2. Gamage, Danula K. & Kavetsos, Georgios & Mallick, Sushanta & Sevilla, Almudena, 2020. "Pay Transparency Initiative and Gender Pay Gap: Evidence from Research-Intensive Universities in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 13635, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. John Forth & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos & Alex Bryson, 2021. "The Role of the Workplace in Ethnic Wage Differentials," DoQSS Working Papers 21-25, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
    4. Jones, Melanie K. & Kaya, Ezgi, 2022. "Organisational Gender Pay Gaps in the UK: What Happened Post-transparency?," IZA Discussion Papers 15342, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Adams-Prassl, Abigail & Balgova, Maria & Qian, Matthias, 2020. "Flexible Work Arrangements in Low Wage Jobs: Evidence from Job Vacancy Data," IZA Discussion Papers 13691, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Wolfgang Frimmel & Bernhard Schmidpeter & Rene Wiesinger & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2022. "Mandatory Wage Posting, Bargaining and the Gender Wage Gap," Economics working papers 2022-02, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    7. Adams-Prassl, Abigail & Balgova, Maria & Qian, Matthias, 2020. "Flexible Work Arrangements in Low Wage Jobs: Evidence from Job Vacancy Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 15263, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Bamieh, Omar & Ziegler, Lennart, 2022. "Can Wage Transparency Alleviate Gender Sorting in the Labor Market?," IZA Discussion Papers 15363, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    pay transparency ; gender pay gap ; glass ceiling;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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