Gender Discrimination? Evidence from the Belgian Public Accounting Profession
55 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 1, 2018
While prior studies document that women receive lower salaries and are less likely to be promoted compared with men, these findings could reflect intrinsic differences between men and women rather than gender discrimination. We provide new tests for discrimination by examining the fees generated by partners in accounting firms and the types of clients assigned to partners. We show that female partners are associated with fee premiums, but female partners are also less likely to be assigned to prestigious clients. To determine whether these patterns could be attributable to gender discrimination, we examine whether the associations are stronger in accounting offices that have a higher percentage of male partners, because this is where we would expect to find the most discrimination against women. Consistent with discrimination, the fee premiums to female partners are larger in offices with more male partners while the negative association between prestigious clients and female partners is stronger in offices with more male partners. Collectively, our findings are consistent with gender discrimination and are inconsistent with other possible explanations.
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