Like Daughter, Like Father: How Women’s Wages Change When CEOs Have Daughters

by Michael S. Dahl, Cristian L. Dezso and David Gaddis Ross, March 2011.

Drawing on research in sociology and economics suggesting that fathers’ gender-relatedattitudes and behaviors are shaped by the gender of their children, we hypothesize thathaving daughters prompts male CEOs to implement wage policies that are more equitableto female employees. To test this hypothesis, we use a 12-year panel of Danish workforcedata and an empirical specification with CEO–employee fixed effects, creating a quasiexperimentalsetting whereby the gender of a CEO’s child is effectively exogenous. Weobserve that when a daughter was born to a male CEO, wages paid to the CEO’s femaleemployees rose relative to the wages paid to male employees. The effect was stronger forthe first daughter, and stronger still if the first daughter was also the first child. The birthof a daughter to a male CEO particularly benefitted women who were more educated orwho worked for smaller firms. These results have implications for our understanding notonly of the origins of discrimination and the gender gap in wages but also of socialpreferences and the influence of managerial style on firm policies.

Download the paper here.


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