Back in the late 1990s, Marianne Bertrand and the author examined the pay gap between male and female executives listed in the proxy statements of publicly traded US firms from 1992 in 1997, which they later published in the October 2011 edition of Industrial and Labor Relations Review. They found that, taken as a whole, women in these top five positions earned about 45% less than men in these positions. At the same time, they found that as much as 75% of this gap could be explained by the fact that women managed smaller companies, and were less likely to be CEO, chairman or company president. Two recent studies of board quotas in Norway provide interesting extensions to the research on gender gaps at the top of the corporate structure. A decade ago, Norway passed a quota law that mandated that 40% of the board seats be held by women.

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