The gender hole on the high: The position of networks


Regardless of the progress made towards gender equality, women and men nonetheless face completely different labour market circumstances in any respect ranges of employment, not least at high administration positions. Even feminine managers profitable at breaking the glass ceiling are rewarded lower than their male friends. The economics literature has uncovered ample proof of gender bias. Geiler and Renneboog (2015) discover that feminine high managers in listed UK corporations earn some 23% lower than their male counterparts, whereas Bell (2005) paperwork a bias between 8% and 25% for feminine executives in US-listed corporations, after controlling for variations in firm dimension, occupational title, and trade. Bertrand and Hallock (2001) reveal a forty five% hole in US corporations, diminished to about 5% after accounting for observable variations, the place gender segregation by agency dimension performs a vital position.

Gender inequality comes at an financial price, as proven in Lagarde and Ostry (2018) and Cavalcanti and Tavares (2007, 2015) from a macroeconomic perspective and in Criscuolo et al. (2021) from a agency productiveness perspective. Additional understanding the pay hole between female and male managers is thus essential to make substantial progress towards gender equality. Additionally it is important to facilitate correct laws design mitigating the distinction as analysed in research similar to Djankov and Goldberg (2021) and Bagues and Esteve-Volart (2007). In spite of everything, it’s possible that the productiveness price of gender discrimination is, if something, increased because it pertains to managerial positions.

In a current research (Sazedj and Tavares 2021b), we advance the prevailing literature on the gender pay hole amongst high managers by addressing a but undocumented supply of divergence: the distinction in skilled networks. Utilizing a matched employer-employee dataset with necessary data on all personal corporations and wage-earners working in Portugal between the years 1986 and 2017, we monitor your entire skilled historical past of a employee and thus compute a measure of networks primarily based on all previous skilled interactions, throughout the identical agency, specifically with co-workers who later change into high managers. Whereas in Sazedj and Tavares (2021a), we present that networks certainly play a vital position within the wage-setting technique of high executives, in Sazedj and Tavares (2021b), we handle the associated and essential query of assessing how these variations in skilled networks contribute to the gender pay hole on the high. 

Determine 1 exhibits how, in 1995, the overall pay of feminine high managers stood solely barely above a mere two thirds of male managers’ pay. That’s, for every euro earned by a male supervisor, a feminine supervisor earns 32 cents much less. Though the gender pay hole for high managers has narrowed by greater than 10 proportion factors within the 23-year interval of our research, that doesn’t essentially stem from a lower in discrimination. By 2017, feminine pay represented virtually 4 fifths of male wages. Nevertheless, once we take observable traits into consideration, together with age, tenure, and schooling, and compute an ‘adjusted’ gender pay hole (represented by the dashed line in Determine 1), we discover that the catch up in wages of feminine high managers is solely because of the catching up in abilities, with no discount within the unexplained element of the wage distinction, generally equated with gender discrimination (Cardoso et al. 2016). Our outcomes are in keeping with the findings of Azamat and Petrongolo (2014), who doc that, though the gender hole in schooling has closed and even reversed in lots of nations, the gender bias in pay, employment ranges, or alternatives has not vanished. Moreover, once we take into account variations in managers´ networks (represented by the dotted line in Determine 1), we discover that networks are essential in explaining a big fraction of the gender pay hole. 

Determine 1 The gender pay hole over time

Bigger networks facilitate entry to corporations with extra beneficiant compensation insurance policies

Estimating a wage equation with high-dimensional fastened results and utilizing the Gelbach decomposition technique, we are able to unambiguously decompose the contribution of every supply of the noticed gender pay hole amongst high managers. Our outcomes are offered in Determine 2. Considering the managers’ observable traits of age, tenure, and schooling, which clarify roughly 4.1 proportion factors of the pay hole, we present how a major fraction of the remaining gender pay hole is defined by heterogeneity in corporations’ compensation insurance policies, as captured by agency fastened results. In different phrases, the sorting of managers into corporations, the place male high managers segregate into corporations with extra beneficiant pay insurance policies, accounts for nearly 7.5 proportion factors of the pay hole. Put in a different way, a random allocation of managers throughout corporations, one such that feminine managers would not be disproportionately allotted to corporations with decrease compensation, would scale back the gender pay hole on the high by one third. Apparently, we additionally estimate that greater than 50% of this agency sorting channel derives from variations in networks, as better-connected managers, usually male managers, have entry to increased paying corporations.

Lastly, we discover that managers’ unobserved everlasting traits, captured by supervisor fastened results, clarify the remaining two thirds of the gender pay hole. These unobserved supervisor traits (unobserved from the researcher’s viewpoint), might be equated each with unobserved abilities but in addition with types of gender discrimination not related to sorting of managers throughout corporations.

Determine 2 Decomposing the gender pay hole on the high

The gender composition of networks additionally issues: Females help females

Having established the important thing position of managers’ networks in explaining the gender pay hole amongst high managers, we additional examine how feminine managers can greatest leverage their networks to beat gender segregation throughout corporations. We study the position of each community dimension in addition to community gender composition. First, we discover no proof in any way of a unique position of community dimension for female and male managers. But, and importantly, we do uncover that community gender composition has essential and completely different results for feminine and male managers. 

Determine 3 depicts the outcomes of three completely different checks, run individually for female and male managers. We account for the next community traits: the gender composition of networks, when it comes to quantity (higher panel); the gender composition of the networks, with a bigger weight given to extra highly effective connections (center panel); and the gender composition of networks, giving a bigger weight to nearer/deeper connections (decrease panel). 

Determine 3 The worth of gender-specific connections

Be aware: The dots characterize the estimated coefficients from a propensity rating matching process, whereas the traces characterize the 90% confidence interval. The pink/blue figures refer to three completely different regressions run on the pattern of feminine/male high managers. A unfavourable worth suggests managers profit extra from female-dominant networks, a optimistic worth the alternative.

We give attention to episodes of job transitions and use a propensity rating process to check high managers with male-dominant networks to managers with female-dominant networks, after controlling for supervisor traits. We discover that, when it comes to wage features, each genders profit extra from male than from feminine connections (higher panel). Nevertheless, this result’s biased by the truth that strongest high managers are male. As soon as we account for the ability of the connections – when it comes to the scale of the corporations they handle – we discover that feminine high managers profit equally from male or feminine dominated networks, whereas male managers proceed to profit extra from male connections (see center panel). Lastly, we take into account the depth of the connections by attributing a better weight to connections with whom one has labored for an extended interval and/or in smaller corporations, which we take into account a proxy for the ‘inside circle’ of the supervisor. Doing so, we discover that each feminine and male managers profit most from connections to managers of their very own gender. In sum, the closest community connections appear to profit principally managers of the identical gender. Extra particularly, feminine managers can profit from having shut connections with different feminine managers.

Our outcomes exhibit how, in a male-dominated company world, gender bias could also be perpetuated. In mild of the prevailing male over-representation in management roles and the bias in direction of benefiting our friends, the position of feminine networks for feminine managers is a vital, but undocumented, reality. Insurance policies that favour elevated feminine presence in management positions are more likely to have quantifiable and essential spillovers, by facilitating the entry of extra girls to high managing jobs. The precise type of these insurance policies – quotas, mentorship packages, or alternate options is a vital object of additional analysis.


Azmat, G and B Petrongolo (2014), “Gender and the labour market: Proof from experiments”,, 7 June.

Bagues, M F and B Esteve-Volart (2007), “Gender equality laws: Will it work?”,, 27 July.

Bell, L A (2005), “Ladies-Led Corporations and the Gender Hole in High Government Jobs”, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) Dialogue Paper 1689.

Bertrand, M and Okay F Hallock (2001), “The Gender Hole in High Company Jobs”, Industrial and Labor Relations Evaluate 55(1): 3-21.

Cardoso, A R, P Guimarães and P Portugal (2016), “What Drives the Gender Wage Hole? A Take a look at the Function of Agency and Job Title Heterogeneity”, Oxford Financial Papers 68(2): 506-24.

Cavalcanti, T and J Tavares (2007), “Gender discrimination lowers output per capita (lots)”,, 16 October.

Cavalcanti, T and J Tavares (2015), “The Output Value of Gender Discrimination: A Mannequin-based Macroeconomics Estimate”, The Financial Journal 126(590): 109–134.

Criscuolo, C, P Gal, T Leidecker and G Nicoletti (2021), “The human facet of productiveness: Uncovering the position of abilities and variety for agency productiveness“,, 23 December.

Djankov, S and P Goldberg (2021), “Gendered legal guidelines do matter”,, 24 Might.

Geiler, P and L Renneboog (2015), “Are Feminine High Managers Actually Paid Much less?”, Journal of Company Finance 35(C): 345-369.

Lagarde, C and J D Ostry (2018), “The macroeconomic advantages of gender variety”,, 5 December.

Sazedj, S and J Tavares (2021a), “Networks and Supervisor Pay: Proof from Time-Various Exogenous Metrics”, CEPR Dialogue Paper 16475.

Sazedj, S and J Tavares (2021b), “The Gender Hole on the High: How Community Dimension and Composition Impression CEO Pay”, CEPR Dialogue Paper 16761.



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