An Economic Theory of Glass Ceiling

48 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2009 Last revised: 9 Nov 2009

See all articles by Paul A. Grout

Paul A. Grout

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO)

In-Uck Park

University of Bristol

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 30, 2009

Abstract

In the "glass ceiling" debate there appear to be two strongly held and opposing interpretations of the evidence, one suggesting it is really the result of gender differences and the other that there is discrimination by gender. This paper provides an economic theory of the glass ceiling and one of the main insights of our analysis is that in some real sense these two interpretations are not in conflict with each other. The glass ceiling emerges as an equilibrium phenomenon when firms compete a la Bertrand even though employers know that offering women the same contract as men would be sufficient to erase all differences among promoted workers. The model also provides new insights into anti-discrimination policy measures.

Keywords: Glass Ceiling, Promotions, Career Options

JEL Classification: J16, D82

Suggested Citation

Grout, Paul A. and Park, In-Uck and Sonderegger, Silvia, An Economic Theory of Glass Ceiling (March 30, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1392776 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1392776

Paul A. Grout

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) ( email )

Mary Paley Building
12 Priory Road Department of Economics
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

In-Uck Park (Contact Author)

University of Bristol ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Economics Dept
Bristol, BS8 1TN
United Kingdom
+44-117-3310814 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.efm.bris.ac.uk/eciup/

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

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