Intra-Firm Hierarchies and Gender Gaps

47 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2020

See all articles by Nicolò Dalvit

Nicolò Dalvit

Sciences Po; World Bank

Aseem Patel

Sciences Po

Joanne Tan

Singapore Management University

Date Written: September 28, 2020


We study how changes in female representation at the top of a firm’s organisation affect gender-specific outcomes across hierarchies within firms. We start by developing a theoretical model of a hierarchical firms, where gender representation in top organisational layers can affect gender-specific hiring and promotion probabilities at lower layers. We then exploit a recent French reform that imposed gender representation quotas in the boards of directors and test the model’s predictions in the data. Our empirical results show that the reform was successful in reducing gender wage and representation gaps at the upper layers of the firm, but not at lower firm layers. A Panel VAR analysis confirms that the trickle-down effect of this policy was limited and suggests that interventions targeting the managerial layer, rather than the board, might have a more generalised effect across the firm.

Keywords: Gender Gap, Firm Organisation, Gender Quota, Trickle-Down Effect

JEL Classification: G38, J16, J3, L2

Suggested Citation

Dalvit, Nicolò and Dalvit, Nicolò and Patel, Aseem and Tan, Joanne, Intra-Firm Hierarchies and Gender Gaps (September 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Nicolò Dalvit (Contact Author)

Sciences Po ( email )

28, rue des Saints-Pères
Paris, Paris 75007

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Aseem Patel

Sciences Po ( email )

28 Rue des Saint-Peres
Paris, Paris 75006

Joanne Tan

Singapore Management University ( email )

90 Stamford Road

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