Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1111: What Prevents Female Executives from Reaching the Top?

Matti Keluoharju (), Samuli Knüpfer () and Joacim Tåg ()
Additional contact information
Matti Keluoharju: Aalto University School of Business, Postal: Harvard Business School, CEPR and Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
Samuli Knüpfer: BI Norwegian Business School, Postal: ,CEPR and Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
Joacim Tåg: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Exceptionally rich data from Sweden makes studying the gender gap in executives’ career progression and investigating its causes possible. In their 40s, female executives are about half as likely to be large-company CEOs and about one third less likely to be high earners than males. Abilities, skills, and education likely do not explain these gaps, because female executives appear better qualified than males. Instead, slow career progression in the five years after the first childbirth explains most of the female disadvantage. During this period, female executives work on average shorter hours than males and are more often absent from work. Their responses to childbirth are invariant to their career potential relative to their partners. These results suggest aspiring women may not reach the executive suite without trading off family life.

Keywords: CEOs; Compensation; Discrimination; Executives; Gender differences

JEL-codes: G34; J16; J24; J31

68 pages, First version: February 18, 2016. Revised: March 12, 2018. Earlier revisions: September 1, 2017.

Full text files

wp1111.pdf PDF-file 

Download statistics

Questions (including download problems) about the papers in this series should be directed to Elisabeth Gustafsson ()
Report other problems with accessing this service to Sune Karlsson ().

This page generated on 2018-03-13 13:46:44.