Sharmin Sazedj, José Tavares, 16 July 2022

The gender pay gap is well-documented, yet its source remains debated. This column uses data from Portuguese firms to analyse the role of professional networks in explaining the gender pay gap among top executives. The component of the pay gap which is unexplained by age, tenure, or education has remained persistently large over the period 1986 to 2017, reflecting a gender bias which can be partly explained by networks. Both female and male managers benefit most from connections to managers of their own gender. This implies positive spillovers from policies that favour increased female presence in leadership positions.

Simeon Djankov, Pinelopi Goldberg, 24 May 2021

Despite the significant barriers to economic inclusion that many women face, there is a long history of scepticism regarding the relevance of laws that discriminate on the basis of gender. This column analyses global data on legal gender equality and shows that greater legal equality between men and women is associated with a narrower gender gap in opportunities and outcomes, fewer female workers in positions of vulnerable employment, and greater political representation for women. Country attributes that are significant predictors of legal gender equality (including religion, legal origin, and geography) evolve slowly, if at all. Nonetheless, considerable progress in legal gender equality took place in some parts of the world over the past five decades.


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