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The Intangible Gender Gap: An Asset Channel of Inequality

Carlos F. Avenancio-León () and Leslie Sheng Shen

No 1322, International Finance Discussion Papers from Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)

Abstract: We propose an "asset channel of inequality" that contributes to gender inequities. We establish that industries with low (high) gender pay gaps have high (low) shares of tangible assets. Because asset tangibility determines firms' ability to collateralize assets and borrow, credit conditions affect industries differently. We show that credit expansions further reduce the pay gap in low-pay-gap industries while leaving it unaffected in high-pay-gap industries, making low-pay-gap industries more appealing for women. Consequently, gender sorting across industries increases, which then cements gender roles and accentuates workplace gender bias. Ultimately, credit expansions help women "swim upstream" but also reinforce glass ceilings.

Keywords: Gender Pay Gap; Credit Markets; Asset Tangibility; Equitable Finance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J71 O16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-08-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gen, nep-isf and nep-lma
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DOI: 10.17016/IFDP.2021.1322

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