The Gender-Career Estimation Gap

42 Pages Posted: 24 May 2014

See all articles by Lutz Kaiser

Lutz Kaiser

IZA Institute of Labor Economics; DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research


The paper discusses gender differences with regard to the self- and reciprocal estimation of career expectations. Firstly, the theoretical background and the literature are identified. Within this frame, the instance of self-under-estimated career prospects of female workers and statistical discrimination in the labor market are described. Both aspects are jointly assessed as a self-fulfilling prophecy-phenomenon redounded to women's disadvantage on the labor market. Secondly, the empirical part analysis the respective self- and reciprocal estimation of female and male career prospects for public sector workers in Germany.The results display obvious discrepancies between self- and reciprocally estimated career expectations that constitute a gender-career estimation gap. As the German public sector contains specific devices to equalising career chances of male and female employees, the findings even underpin the insistency of under-estimated career prospects of female workers despite the existing public sector regime of equality. Finally, approaches of how to equalize male and female career chances are critically reviewed.

Keywords: self- and reciprocal estimation of career opportunities, self-fulfilling prophecy, gender-career estimation gap, statistical discrimination, public sector

JEL Classification: J16, J24, J4, J71, J78

Suggested Citation

Kaiser, Lutz, The Gender-Career Estimation Gap. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8185, Available at SSRN:

Lutz Kaiser (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117

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