nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2021‒02‒22
four papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Stockholms universitet

  1. The Gender Wage Gap Among University Vice Chancellors in the UK By Bachan, Ray; Bryson, Alex
  2. The Gender Pay Gap Revisited with Big Data: Do Methodological Choices Matter? By Anthony Strittmatter; Conny Wunsch
  3. Gender Quotas and Support for Women in Board Elections By Marina Gertsberg; Johanna Mollerstrom; Michaela Pagel
  4. Gender diversity in corporate boards: Evidence from quota-implied discontinuities By Olga Kuzmina; Valentina Melentyeva

  1. By: Bachan, Ray (University of Brighton); Bryson, Alex (University College London)
    Abstract: The gender wage gap has closed gradually in the United Kingdom, as in other countries, but convergence is slower among top earners. Using linked employer-employee data over two decades we examine the gap among university Vice Chancellors who are among the most highly paid employees in the UK. Traditionally dominated by men the occupation has experienced a recent influx of women. The substantial gender wage gap of 12 log points in the first decade of the 21st Century closed markedly during the second decade, becoming statistically non-significant in later years. The closure in the gap is accounted for by change in the attributes of male and female VCs and the universities they lead - in particular, the financial performance of universities employing female VCs. The unexplained component of the gap is small and explains none of the convergence in the gap. A "new starter" wage penalty women faced in the early 2000s disappeared. However, women continued to receive a lower wage when replacing an outgoing male Vice Chancellor, whereas no differential was apparent between incoming male Vice Chancellors and the women they replaced.
    Keywords: gender wage gap, vice chancellors, higher education, decompositions, linked employer-employee data
    JEL: J16 J31 J44
    Date: 2021–02
  2. By: Anthony Strittmatter; Conny Wunsch
    Abstract: The vast majority of existing studies that estimate the average unexplained gender pay gap use unnecessarily restrictive linear versions of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition. Using a notably rich and large data set of 1.7 million employees in Switzerland, we investigate how the methodological improvements made possible by such big data affect estimates of the unexplained gender pay gap. We study the sensitivity of the estimates with regard to i) the availability of observationally comparable men and women, ii) model flexibility when controlling for wage determinants, and iii) the choice of different parametric and semi-parametric estimators, including variants that make use of machine learning methods. We find that these three factors matter greatly. Blinder-Oaxaca estimates of the unexplained gender pay gap decline by up to 39\% when we enforce comparability between men and women and use a more flexible specification of the wage equation. Semi-parametric matching yields estimates that when compared with the Blinder-Oaxaca estimates, are up to 50\% smaller and also less sensitive to the way wage determinants are included.
    Date: 2021–02
  3. By: Marina Gertsberg; Johanna Mollerstrom; Michaela Pagel
    Abstract: We study shareholder support for corporate board nominees in the context of the California gender quota, which was passed in 2018. Using hand-collected data for approximately 600 firms, we show that, prior to the quota, female nominees received greater shareholder support than their male counterparts. This is consistent with a pre-quota environment in which female board nominees were held to a higher standard than male nominees. Second, we show that incumbent female directors in the post-quota environment receive greater support than incumbent men, while support for new (mandated) female nominees decreases to the level of support for new male nominees. This indicates that the quota led to a conversion in the bar for men and women to become board nominees, and that it did not lead to new female board nominees being of lower quality than male nominees. We likewise challenge the notion that the negative stock price reaction to the quota reflects value destruction due to an insufficient supply of female directors. Instead, we provide evidence that dysfunctional board dynamics are driving the reaction, in the sense that stock prices reacted negatively to entrenched boards who failed to turn over the least supported directors when adjusting their boards to comply with the new law.
    JEL: G3 J16 J7
    Date: 2021–02
  4. By: Olga Kuzmina (New Economic School); Valentina Melentyeva (ZEW and University of Mannheim)
    Abstract: Using data across European corporate boards, we investigate the effects of quota-induced female representation on firm value and operations. We use quasi-random assignment induced by rounding and find that promoting gender equality is aligned with shareholder interests. This result is in stark contrast with previous work finding large negative effects of women on firm value. This discrepancy arises because these papers considered firms with different pre-quota shares of women to be good counterfactuals to each other. In our data, we see that such firms grew differently already before the regulation, resulting in a negatively biased estimate of the effect. We overcome this bias by considering sharp increases that arise whenever percentage-based regulation applies to a small group of people. We further show that these large positive effects of female directors are not explained by increased risk-taking or changes in board characteristics, but rather by scaling down inefficient operations and empire-"demolishing".
    Keywords: Gender diversity, gender quota, board of directors, firm performance
    JEL: J16 J48 G34 G38 C18
    Date: 2021–02

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