Firm Characteristics, Gender Sorting, and Labor Market Inequality

David Pedulla , Stanford University
Katariina Mueller-Gastell, Stanford University

The movement toward gender equality has stalled. Building on theoretical arguments about how demand-side processes shape supply-side behavior, we propose a distinct mechanism for continued gender labor market stratification. Specifically, we foreground the importance of firm characteristics in shaping the companies to which men and women submit job applications. Drawing on unique panel data, we document that women apply for jobs at companies with worse compensation packages than men. We then demonstrate that this pattern is contingent on another company attribute: its work-life balance. We find that women are less likely than men to apply for jobs at companies with good compensation packages if those companies also have low work-life balance, but are equally likely to apply for jobs at companies with good compensation packages and good work-life balance. We then use survey-experimental data to show that these patterns are unlikely to be driven by individual-level preferences. Rather, we argue they are driven by structural constraints.

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 Presented in Session 115. Gender and Labor Markets