Hierarchical Organizations and Glass Ceiling Effects

  • María Paz EspinosaEmail author
  • Eva Ferreira


We explore the effect of bias on glass ceiling effects in hierarchical organizations and show that the latter do not necessarily come from greater discrimination at the top levels of the hierarchy but from the dynamics of the selection process, the shape of the hierarchical organization and the distribution of abilities. These results are consistent with the existing empirical evidence, which has found glass ceiling effects in some contexts but not in others.


Gender gap Glass ceiling Pareto distribution Weibull distribution 

JEL codes:

C73 J71 M51 



We are grateful for comments from Prof. Dr. Winfried Stute, the participants on the International Conference in Probability Theory and Statistics on Tbilisi, 2015 and an anonymous referee. Financial support from MINECO (ECO2015-64467-R and ECO2014-51914-P), the Basque Government (DEUI, IT-783-13) and UPV/EHU (UFI 11/46 BETS) is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Fundamentos Del Análisis Económico IIUniversity of the Basque CountryBilbaoSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Economía Aplicada III & BETSUniversity of the Basque CountryBilbaoSpain

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