Gender Promotion Gaps: Career Aspirations and Workplace Discrimination

54 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2020

See all articles by Ghazala Azmat

Ghazala Azmat

Sciences Po

Vicente Cuñat

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Financial Markets Group; The London School of Economics

Emeric Henry

Sciences Po

Abstract

Using a nationally representative longitudinal survey of lawyers in the U.S., we document a sizeable gap between men and women in their early aspirations to become law firm partners, despite similar early investments and educational characteristics. This aspiration gap can explain a large part of the gender promotion gap that is observed later. We propose a model to understand the role of aspirations and then empirically test its predictions. We show that aspirations create incentives to exert effort and are correlated with expectations of success and the preference for becoming a partner. We further show that aspirations are affected by early work experiences – facing harassment or demeaning comments early in the career affects long-term promotion outcomes mediated via aspirations. Our research highlights the importance of accounting for, and managing, career aspirations as an early intervention to close gender career gaps.

Keywords: promotion, aspirations, gender gaps

JEL Classification: M51, J16, K40, J44

Suggested Citation

Azmat, Ghazala and Cuñat, Vicente and Cuñat, Vicente and Henry, Emeric, Gender Promotion Gaps: Career Aspirations and Workplace Discrimination. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12902, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3525230 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3525230

Ghazala Azmat (Contact Author)

Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337
France

Vicente Cuñat

The London School of Economics ( email )

United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.vicentecunat.com

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Financial Markets Group ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.vicentecunat.com

Emeric Henry

Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337
France

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