Gender Promotion Gaps: Career Aspirations and Workplace Discrimination
66 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2020 Last revised: 14 May 2021
Date Written: January 2020
Using a representative survey of U.S. lawyers, we document a sizeable gender gap in early partnership aspirations, which explains half of the later gender promotion gap. We propose a model to understand aspirations and then empirically test it. We show that aspirations induce greater effort and increase regret if a promotion is not obtained. Furthermore, aspirations are linked to fertility choices and workplace experiences (mentoring and discrimination). Facing harassment or demeaning comments at an early career stage affects later promotion, mediated via a change in aspirations. We highlight that measuring aspirations, and understanding how they are formed, is key to explaining gender career gaps.
JEL Classification: J16, J44, K40, M51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation