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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1335706
 
 

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Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Corporate and Financial Sectors


Marianne Bertrand


University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Claudia Goldin


Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lawrence F. Katz


Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

January 2009

NBER Working Paper No. w14681

Abstract:     
This paper assesses the relative importance of various explanations for the gender gap in career outcomes for highly-educated workers in the U.S. corporate and financial sectors. The careers of MBAs, who graduated between 1990 and 2006 from a top U.S. business school, are studied to understand how career dynamics differ by gender. Although male and female MBAs have nearly identical (labor) incomes at the outset of their careers, their earnings soon diverge, with the male annual earnings advantage reaching almost 60 log points at ten to 16 years after MBA completion. We identify three proximate reasons for the large and rising gender gap in earnings: differences in training prior to MBA graduation; differences in career interruptions; and differences in weekly hours. These three determinants can explain the bulk of gender differences in earnings across the years following MBA completion. The presence of children is the main contributor to the lesser job experience, greater career discontinuity and shorter work hours for female MBAs. Some MBA mothers, especially those with well-off spouses, slow down in the labor market within a few years following their first birth. Disparities in the productive characteristics of male and female MBAs are small, but the pecuniary penalties from shorter hours and any job discontinuity are enormous for MBAs.

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Date posted: January 31, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Bertrand, Marianne and Goldin, Claudia and Katz, Lawrence F., Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Corporate and Financial Sectors (January 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14681. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1335706

Contact Information

Marianne Bertrand (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-5943 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://gsbwww.uchicago.edu/fac/marianne.bertrand/vita/cv_0604.pdf
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-588-0341 (Phone)
617-876-2742 (Fax)
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
Claudia Goldin
Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )
Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3934 (Phone)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-588-0356 (Phone)
617-868-2742 (Fax)
Lawrence F. Katz
Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )
Littauer Center
Room 215
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5148 (Phone)
617-868-2742 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/katz/katz
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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