gender compensation gap


This paper studies the gender compensation gap among high-level executives in US corpora-
tions. We use the ExecuComp data set that contains information on total compensation for the
top five highest paid executives of a large group of US firms over the period 1992-1997. About
2.5% of the executives in the sample are women. These women earn about 45% less than their
male counterparts. As much as 75% of this gap can be accounted for by the fact that women
manage smaller companies and are less likely to be CEO; Chair, or President of their company.
The unexplained gender gap can be reduced to less than 5% when one further accounts for the
fact that female executives are younger and have less seniority than male executives. Over the
period under study, women have nearly tripled their participation in the top executive ranks and
have also strongly improved their relative compensation, mostly by gaining representation into
the larger corporations. While the absence of a significant conditional gender gap implies that
women and men who hold similar jobs in firms of similar size receive fairly equal treatment in
terms of compensation, it does not rule out the possibility of discrimination in terms of gender
segregation or promotion.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 55, No. 1, October 2001
Hallock, K., & Bertrand, M. (1999). The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs. Retrieved from (Original work published 10/1999AD)
Working Papers