Do Age and Gender Affect Managers’ Career Progression? Evidence From the Careers of Movie Directors

52 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2021 Last revised: 5 Jan 2022

See all articles by S. Abraham Ravid

S. Abraham Ravid

Yeshiva University - Syms School of Business

Shu Han

Yeshiva University - Syms School of Business

Date Written: March 4, 2021

Abstract

This paper considers bias in the market for managerial positions by following the career paths of film directors. Film directors manage multi-million projects and are hired on a project-by-project basis. Unlike other industries, researchers have most of the data available to decision makers.
We gather data on directors’ film projects from the time they enter the profession. We also study their background prior to the first movie they direct. As expected, the economic success of previous film projects is the main determinant of hiring for a new film, thus our null hypothesis is that controlling for career paths, age gender and race should not matter in landing a new project.
However, we find that age matters and although directors direct their first project around age 40 on average, there is evidence of age discrimination even for directors under 50. We do not find convincing evidence for gender bias, however, we also document that on average, only 12% of an entering cohort of new directors are women and they follow a different path than men in the entertainment industry.
We conclude that if there is evidence of bias in an industry where career related information is public knowledge, it may be worse in more opaque industries.

Keywords: Project Managers, Film Directors, Career Path, Age and Gender Discrimination

JEL Classification: G3, L32, J71

Suggested Citation

Ravid, S. Abraham and Han, Shu, Do Age and Gender Affect Managers’ Career Progression? Evidence From the Careers of Movie Directors (March 4, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3797345 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3797345

S. Abraham Ravid (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Syms School of Business ( email )

United States

Shu Han

Yeshiva University - Syms School of Business ( email )

United States

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