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Working for Female Managers: Gender Hierarchy in the Workplace

Feb 2010
Working Paper
09-006
By  Illong Kwon, Eva Meyersson Milgrom
We study workers’ reactions to changes in the gender composition of top management during a merger or acquisition, finding that an increase in the number of female top managers within their occupation makes male workers more likely to quit, and female workers less likely to quit. These effects vary across occupations, depending on the female share, and male workers’ aversion to female managers is strongest when the female share nears 50 percent. The effects also vary over time and with age, becoming smaller in more recent years and among younger males, but increasing with education level. We find little evidence that these preferences are driven by pecuniary effects.