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Is the partnership gap closing for women? Cohort differences in the sex gap in partnership chances

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Noonan, Mary C., Mary E. Corcoran, and Paul Courant. 2008. "Is the partnership gap closing for women? Cohort differences in the sex gap in partnership chances." Social Science Research, 37(1): 156-179.

This paper test predictions from three social science explanations as to how sex differences in attainment of partnership and how women’s perceptions of sex discrimination should have changed as women have been integrated into law. Men’s and women’s partnership rates 15 years after graduation and women’s reports of sex discrimination are compared for two cohorts of University of Michigan Law School graduates: the classes of 1972 to 1978 and the classes of 1979 to 1985. Four stages at which women are selected out of, or select themselves out of, the path to partnership are investigated: (1) career plans at graduation; (2) entry into a firm; (3) early attrition from firm practice; and (4) the attainment of partnership among non-attriters. The sex gap in attaining partnership dropped across cohorts, primarily due to declines in sex differences at the first three stages; but sex differences in the percentage of non-attriters who were partners 15 years after graduation declined little across cohorts, both before and after controlling for career plans, legal specialization, work experience, law school grades, and family situations. And in both cohorts, roughly 90 percent of women reported experiences of sex discrimination.

DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2007.06.005 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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