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Mommy tracks and public policy: on self-fulfilling prophecies and gender gaps in promotion
[Selbsterfüllende Prophezeiungen und geschlechtsspezifische Karrieremöglichkeiten]

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  • Lommerud, Kjell Erik
  • Vagstad, Steinar

Abstract

Consider a model with two types of jobs. The profitability of promoting a worker to a fast-track job depends not only on his or her observable talent, but also on incontractible effort. We investigate whether self-fulfilling expectations may lead to higher promotion standards for women. If employers expect women to do more household work than men, thereby exerting less effort in their paid job, then women must be more talented to make promotion profitable. Moreover, specialization in the family will then result in women’s doing most of the household work. Such self-fulfilling prophecies can be defeated: both affirmative action and family policy can make women spend more effort in the market, which can lead the economy to a non-discriminatory equilibrium. However, we find that it is unlikely that temporary policy can move the economy to a symmetric equilibrium: policy must be made permanent. Anti-discrimination policy need not enhance efficiency, and from a distribution viewpoint this is a policy with both winners and losers.

Suggested Citation

  • Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Vagstad, Steinar, 2006. "Mommy tracks and public policy: on self-fulfilling prophecies and gender gaps in promotion
    [Selbsterfüllende Prophezeiungen und geschlechtsspezifische Karrieremöglichkeiten]
    ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2006-10, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200610
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre-André Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2009. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1689-1713, December.
    2. Lommerud, K.E. & Vagstad, S., 2000. "Mommy Tracks and Public Policy: On Self-Fulfilling Prophecies and Gender Gaps in Promotion," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 0600, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
    3. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Straume, Odd Rune & Vagstad, Steinar, 2015. "Mommy tracks and public policy: On self-fulfilling prophecies and gender gaps in hiring and promotion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 540-554.
    4. John M. Evans, 2002. "Work/Family Reconciliation, Gender Wage Equity and Occupational Segregation: The Role of Firms and Public Policy," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(s1), pages 187-216, May.
    5. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Bjørn Sandvik & Odd Rune Straume, 2004. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs and Redistribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 703-720, December.
    6. Pierre-André Chiappori & Yoram Weiss, 2007. "Divorce, Remarriage, and Child Support," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 37-74.
    7. Juan J. Dolado & Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Sara De La Rica, 2013. "On Gender Gaps And Self-Fulfilling Expectations: Alternative Implications Of Paid-For Training," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1829-1848, July.
    8. de la Rica, Sara & Dolado, Juan J. & García-Peñalosa, Cecilia, 2008. "On Gender Gaps and Self-fulfilling Expectations: Theory, Policies and Some Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3553, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2009. "Production, Market Production and the Gender Wage Gap: Incentives and Expectations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 80-107, January.
    10. Self, Sharmistha, 2005. "What makes motherhood so expensive?: The role of social expectations, interdependence, and coordination failure in explaining lower wages of mothers," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 850-865, December.
    11. Bjerk, David & Han, Seungjin, 2007. "Assortative marriage and the effects of government homecare subsidy programs on gender wage and participation inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1135-1150, June.
    12. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Weiss, Yoram, 2006. "Divorce, Remarriage and Child Support," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275694, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Bjerk, David, 2009. "Beauty vs. earnings: Gender differences in earnings and priorities over spousal characteristics in a matching model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 248-259, March.
    14. Elizabeth Whitaker & Janet Bokemeiner & Scott Loveridge, 2013. "Interactional Associations of Gender on Savings Behavior: Showing Gender’s Continued Influence on Economic Action," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 105-119, March.
    15. Sara Rica & Juan Dolado & Cecilia Garcia Peñalosa, 2012. "GINI DP 24: On gender gaps and self-fulfilling expectations: An alternative approach based on paid-for-training," GINI Discussion Papers 24, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-fulfilling prophecies; gender discrimination; promotion;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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