The career dynamics of high-skilled women and men: Evidence from Sweden

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This is a paper in the Motherhood Penalty literature.


Albrecht, J., Bronson, M.A., Thoursie, P.S. and Vroman, S., 2018. The career dynamics of high-skilled women and men: Evidence from Sweden. European Economic Review, 105, pp.83-102. | Link


Objective: To understand the source of gender earnings/wage differences, distinguishing between:

1) Between firm differences (ie men work for higher wage/growth firms than women)

2) Job to job flows (ie men gain more from switching jobs)

3) Within firm variation


This paper adds to the Angelov, Johansson and Lindahl (2016) and Kleven, Landais, and Søgaard (2019) papers by adding age effects, to examine gender differences in lifecycle outcomes that are not related to childbirth


There is more of a gender wage gap at the top of the earnings distribution than in the middle or bottom, which is why this paper focuses on high skilled. This pattern is more stark in Sweden than in the U.S.

Understanding the outcomes of this reform is important because the Norwegian approach of using corporate board quotas to promote gender diversity is being adopted elsewhere.

Data & Key Variables

Swedish registry data: 20 years of earnings for men & women born in the 60s who have degrees in business or economics

Linked to the multi-generational register, which links all children to their biological parents


Event study style descriptive analysis & Kitagawa-Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition


They find the well-known decrease in women’s earnings at birth of first child. Women tend to switch firms less around childbirth and work at firms with more part-time workers. For both switchers and stayers, men have higher earnings growth than women over time.