Breaking the Glass Ceiling?

Glass Ceiling. Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash.
Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash
NHH By Sigrid Folkestad

25 March 2019 10:01

Breaking the Glass Ceiling?

"The paper Breaking the Glass Ceiling? The Effect of Board Quotas on Female Labour Market Outcomes in Norway" is published in The Review of Economic Studies.

NHH pays bonus to researchers who publish articles in selected journals (NHH list). In addition, publications in journals on a list prepared by the Financial Times are rewarded (FT list). The Review of Economic Studies is on both. 

The paper on the Norwegian board quotas is by Associate Professor Sissel Jensen (NHH), Professor Sandra E. Black (Principal Investigator at the Centre of Excellence FAIR), Professor Marianne Bertrand (University of Chiacago) and Professor Adriana Lleras-Muney (University of California)Publication in The Review of Economic Studies 

The phenomenon that women are under-represented at the top of the labour market and that wage gender gaps are larger there than average is often referred to as the glass ceiling. It is pervasive, observed even in countries that are otherwise thought of as having achieved the most progress in terms of gender equality.

Norway is one of these countries.

In late 2003, Norway passed a law mandating 40% representation of each gender on the board of public limited liability companies. The primary objective of this reform was to increase the representation of women in top positions in the corporate sector and decrease the gender disparity in earnings within that sector.

In "Breaking the Glass Ceiling? The Effect of Board Quotas on Female Labour Market Outcomes in Norway" the researchers document that the women appointed to these boards post-reform were observably more qualified than their female predecessors along many dimensions, and that the gender gap in earnings within boards fell substantially.

However, they see no robust evidence that the reform benefited the larger set of women employed in the companies subject to the quota. Moreover, the reform had no clear impact on highly qualified women whose qualifications mirror those of board members but who were not appointed to boards.

Finally, the researchers find mixed support for the view that the reform affected the decisions of young women.

While the reform was not accompanied by any change in female enrollment in business education programmes, we do see some improvements in labour market outcomes for young women with graduate business degrees in their early career stages; however, we observe similar improvements for young women with graduate science degrees, suggesting this may not be due to the reform.

Overall, seven years after the board quota policy fully came into effect, we conclude that it had very little discernible impact on women in business beyond its direct effect on the women who made it into boardrooms.

Kvotering har ikke hjulpet

Etter mange år med kvotering av kvinner til styrene i norske ASA-selskaper, har forskere funnet lite effekt på kvinners karriere i selskapene.