Working Paper Series
Why Are There So Few Female Top Executives in Egalitarian Welfare States?
() and Mikael Stenkula
Abstract: We identify pertinent institutions governing the structure
of payoffs with regard to female career progression. Drawing on recent
insights in behavioral economics, we hypothesize that interactions between
psychological mechanisms and the institutional setup may be important
determinants of cross-country differences in the level and evolution of
female representation in executive positions in the business sector. We
test this proposition informally by exploring whether it can be used to
account for some of the observed differences between the Anglo-Saxon and
Scandinavian countries in this respect. Three particularly important
conclusions emerge: (i) broad welfare state policy promotes high female
labor force participation, but blunts incentives to pursue top executive
positions in the business sector; (ii) therefore, it is likely to be
misleading to use the share of female executives as a proxy for gender
equality in welfare states; and (iii) psychological mechanisms are likely
to amplify the effects of policies and institutions.
Keywords: Career choice; Career incentives; Gender equality; Parental leave; Household production; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D13; D63; J16; J20; M52; (follow links to similar papers)
31 pages, January 21, 2009
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- This paper is published as:
Henrekson, Magnus and Mikael Stenkula, (2009), 'Why Are There So Few Female Top Executives in Egalitarian Welfare States?', The Independent Review, Vol. 14, September, No. 2, pages 239-270
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