The Glass Ceiling in Politics: Formalization and Empirical Tests

66 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2014

See all articles by Olle Folke

Olle Folke

Uppsala University - Department of Government

Johanna Karin Rickne

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Date Written: August 12, 2014

Abstract

There is a scarcity of women and minorities at the apex of political power. This paper formalizes the concept of the glass ceiling for political organizations and builds on previous research to suggest four testable criteria. A glass ceiling exists if women and/or racial minorities (1) are discriminated against in the organization’s promotion process and (2) the discrimination increases in severity for the top levels of power and over an individual’s career trajectory. We suggest a series of empirical tests for this phenomenon and apply them to longitudinal data on Swedish politicians. Results show that women face a glass ceiling, while minorities’ career disadvantages are more severe at the earlier career steps (a "sticky floor").

Keywords: Glass ceiling, political careers, subnational politics, women and politics, supply of politicians, gender inequality, racial inequality

JEL Classification: J45, J16, J21, H10

Suggested Citation

Folke, Olle and Rickne, Johanna Karin, The Glass Ceiling in Politics: Formalization and Empirical Tests (August 12, 2014). IFN Working Paper No. 1034, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2479239 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2479239

Olle Folke (Contact Author)

Uppsala University - Department of Government ( email )

Scheelevägen 15 D
SE-223 70
Lund
Sweden

Johanna Karin Rickne

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

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