Is the Glass Ceiling Cracking in Denmark? The Gender Pay Gap in Top Corporate Jobs

Nina Smith 1, Valdemar Smith2, Mette Verner2
1Aarhus University, Denmark, 2Aarhus School of Business, Denmark

This paper analyses the gender gap in compensation for executives in the largest Danish private companies based on a panel data set of employer-employees data covering the period 1996-2005. The overall gender gap in compensation for top executives and potential top executives decreased from 35 percent to 31 percent during the period 1996-2005 and the female proportion among CEOs, VDs and potential top executives increased substantially, by more than 50 percent. However, contrary to most previous studies, we do not find that the gender gap for CEOs disappears or diminishes when controlling for observed individual and firm characteristics and unobserved individual heterogeneity. The raw compensation gap for CEOs decreased from 36 percent in 1996 to 13 percent in 2005. However, controlling for observed and unobserved characteristics the reduction of the compensation gap was small and insignificant for CEOs while for VD and potential top executives, the estimated gap even increased.

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