Women have experienced substantial gains over the last decades in many economic areas, with reduced gender gaps in labor force participation, full-time employment, and education. However, the convergence in careers between men and women has slowed down in the new millennium. This is particularly the case for high-income occupations, where the path to appraisals, promotions and leadership positions is still disproportionally difficult for women. The remaining hurdles on the path towards gender equality are not yet well understood. One one hand, the “motherhood-penalty” seems to be particularly severe in high-paying occupations. Others argue that it is due to women’s lower willingness to bargain and to compete, or that female career progression is handicapped by implicit gender biases among managers.
The project aims at reducing the knowledge gap and will provide new perspectives on the wage and career gaps among top earners by analyzing how career dynamics are affected by gender differences in beliefs, preferences, and psychological traits, and their interaction with firm practices and gender attitudes among managers. First, we investigate how gender differences play out in the early career, and whether gaps are driven by management practices resulting in males and females spending different amount of time on promotable tasks. Second, we ask whether implicit stereotypes among executive managers hinder female career progression, whether high quality management is associated with better gender diversity in firms, and if implicit gender stereotypes constitute a barrier to the adoption of good management practices.
The topics addressed in the project are on the forefront of political and social agendas. By providing a deeper understanding of the causes and mechanisms behind the gender gaps, the project will give important guidance on how they can be reduced. Knowledge generated from the project will therefore have an important impact both on research and on society.
Women have experienced substantial gains over the last decades in many economic areas, with reduced gender gaps in labor force participation, full-time employment, and education. However, we still see a substantial gap in terms of career achievement, particularly in high-income occupations, that is not yet well understood.
MAP-GAP is a project proposal at the intersection between personnel economics and behavioral economics. We will analyze how career dynamics are affected by gender differences in beliefs, preferences, and psychological traits, and their interaction with firm practices and gender attitudes among managers. We propose two work packages. First, we investigate if gender differences in the early career years of MBA graduates are driven by management practices that result in a gender imbalance in the allocation of promotable tasks. Next, we ask if implicit stereotypes among managers hinder female career progression, if high quality management is associated with better gender diversity, and if stereotyping is a barrier to the adoption of good management practices.
MAP-GAP creatively combine different types of data to take evidence from influential experimental studies and test the findings in a real workplace. Registry data provide detailed information on two important domains: Detailed information on educational background as well as detailed information about labor market choices and outcomes. Experiments and surveys, on the other hand, can provide new understandings of the underlying mechanisms behind the gender gaps. We will elicit individual-level information on career aspirations, beliefs, preferences and psychological attributes as well as task volunteering and allocation for a several cohorts of selected study programs, and firm level data on management practices. This combination of data sources will allow us to advance our knowledge and provide important evidence for a better understanding of the gender differences in the labor market.