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Sex Discrimination in the Promotion Process

Craig A. Olson and Brian E. Becker

ILR Review, 1983, vol. 36, issue 4, 624-641

Abstract: Previous research has suggested that intra-occupational earnings differences are the principal source of the long-standing earnings gap between men and women. Following that line of research, this study examines the extent of gender differences in the incidence of and returns to promotions. Drawing on the Quality of Employment Panel, the authors compare the earnings and promotion experience of men and women over the period 1973–1977. After controlling for unmeasured differences in job level and constant individual ability in a fixed-effect model, they conclude that the returns to promotion are comparable for men and women. Further analysis indicates, however, that women are held to higher promotion standards than men and therefore receive fewer promotions than men with equal measured abilities. Although the female/male wage ratio in this sample increased by nearly 6 percent over four years, the increase could have been as much as 9.2 percent if women and men had been held to the same promotion standards.

Date: 1983
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