More women are among the top earners

Claudia Sahm has given us the link (pdf) for Guvenen, Kaplan, and Song, David Wessel the summary.  The paper abstract is this:

We analyze changes in the gender structure at the top of the earnings distribution in the United States over the last 30 years using a 10% sample of individual earnings histories from the Social Security Administration. Despite making large inroads, females still constitute a small proportion of the top percentiles: the glass ceiling, albeit a thinner one, remains. We measure the contribution of changes in labor force participation, changes in the persistence of top earnings, and changes in industry and age composition to the change in the gender composition of top earners. A large proportion of the increased share of females among top earners is accounted for by the mending of, what we refer to as, the paper floor — the phenomenon whereby female top earners were much more likely than male top earners to drop out of the top percentiles. We also provide new evidence at the top of the earnings distribution for both genders: the rising share of top earnings accruing to workers in the Finance and Insurance industry, the relative transitory status of top earners, the emergence of top earnings gender gaps over the life cycle, and gender di erences among lifetime top.

David pulls this out:

A trio of economists, wielding big data from Social Security’s records, says that in 1981-85, women constituted just 1.9% of the top 0.1% of earners (based on average earnings for those years) and 5.2% of the top 1%.

But a quarter-century later, in 2008-12, women were 10.5% of the top 0.1% and 27.5% of the top 1%.


I thought this was going to be about trans-people among the top earners.

Here you go

This highest paid "female" CEO was my teammate in a marketing strategy game in a class we took at UCLA MBA school in 1981. The other two people on our team considered him (or I guess we are now supposed to call him "her") to be a giant prick because he considered everybody around him to be an idiot. I was somewhat more forgiving of his extreme masculine arrogance and interpersonal aggressiveness because I could tell he really was super-smart, much smarter than, for example, me. I also was sympathetic to his obsession with space exploration. (He went on to be one of the founders of satellite radio.)

The notion that he really always was a woman on the inside would never have occurred to those of us who knew him at the time. Similarly, his mother and brother have expressed their surprise. In fact, he or she has since gotten bored with transgenderism and his/her latest book "Virtually Human" is about transhumanism, such as living forever by downloading your brain to a computer.

A general pattern I've noticed is that a strikingly high percentage of the most prominent, high-achieving M to F trans people tend to have extremely masculine personalities along with deep interests in masculine obsessions such as science fiction, libertarianism, and/or transhumanism. It's like they are living out a Late Heinlein novel.

This highest paid "female" CEO also stood out among my fellow MBA students in being already a devoted family man with a large number of children despite still being in his 20s. He had the biggest apartment that I visited of any of my MBA classmates because he had so many children. (He didn't appear to have all that much money yet -- his big apartment was plain and in one of the sketchier neighborhoods near UCLA.) The contrast between his warm feelings toward his family and his often expressed contempt for his classmates and other people who were nominally his peers but who were far below him in IQ and ambition was striking.

A famous trans economist is another example of this pattern:

I can't get your link to work; here is the google cache version:

Is this the newly famous writer (happyjuggler)?

Here's my link to the New York magazine article about my old teammate, the highest paid "female" CEO in America:

I thought it was going to be about more women hanging out with the top earners.

The title changed, see the URL for the original title.

If I read this right the relative transitory status of top earners they find means that top executives do not stay in their positions very long.

Is this because they make their fortune as quick as they can and retire.

Or is it because boards are dissatisfied and remove them, but with a golden parachute.

But if the tenure of top executives is shorter now than before they were receiving such large compensation packages is that evidence
that they do not serve the interest of the stake holders as well as top executives did in the old days when they had longer tenure but lower pay?

I do not know, but it is a view worth considering.

I recently reviewed a paper that argued the opposite causal chain you infer in your final suggestion—that large compensation packages are a response to more impatient stakeholders, giving executives the security to make risky, long-term investments without worrying as much about whether they will be fired for the short-term dip in profitability that results.

Shouldn't the "glass ceiling" have "holes" rather than be thin? It a thin piece of glass is still glass..

Well, yeah. It's an open secret that professional schools have preferences for women nowadays. In the workplace they may then be kicked up the ladder. A highly-paid token is still highly-paid, and she might even be good at her job.

Is this one of those Piketty things, in this case improving the returns to heiresses?

From reading articles about women being oppressed in the marketplace in Slate/Atlantic/TNR/Salon/NYT etc., you might get the impression that feminism was only thought up last week, so of course there hasn't been time yet for women to get the impression that they should have careers. In reality, women flooded into MBA and law school during the 1970s. By the time I was getting my MBA at UCLA in 1980-82 along side a very large number of women, the notion that women shouldn't pursue high paying careers was antiquated.

The single memorable time that bias against women was brought up was when one marketing professor warned his class in retailing that ambitious women, especially gentile women, should not look to make careers at any of the department store chains headquartered in Los Angeles: in 1981, the top jobs in Southern California department store retailing were reserved for Jewish men.

What do you think about quotas for women in corporate sector.

No glass ceiling, whatsoever. Just different brain wiring.

All the old sexist stereotypes are true.

Also, "the glass ceiling, albeit a thinner one, remains" - I don't think they took into account the difference in standard deviation of intelligence between men and women. I believe at the top (or bottom!) 1%, the ratio is 2:1 in favor of men, due to higher std. dev. of iq distribution. It gets more lopsided the further in the tails you go. So, as for their statistical finding that "in 2008-12, women were 10.5% of the top 0.1% and 27.5% of the top 1%", taking into account difference in the tails of iq distribution, coupled with lower number of hours worked by women (due to childbirth and otherwise), it seems to me we are close to actual parity today.

It's entirely possible for both the median woman to be smarter than the median man and for the smartest 1% of the world to be predominantly men.

That being said, I think being CEO-level smart is more about crossing a given threshold than being the absolute smartest person alive. You don't need a 170 IQ to run General Motors. If anything being "too smart" could hold you back if you overanalyze and can't make decisions.

I don't think there's a shortage of women who cross the CEO-Level Smart threshold. I think there's a shortage of women in that cohort who want to do the kinds of things required to make it into that club.

This is problematic because CEOs tend to be extremely well paid and the lack of women running top companies both exacerbates gender inequality and might possibly have other social consequences as well outside of the field of economics. Companies without high ranking women might develop a "boys club" culture that discourages women from trying to move to the highest ranks (a la Silicon Valley).

"Companies without high ranking women might develop a “boys club” culture that discourages women from trying to move to the highest ranks (a la Silicon Valley)."

And everybody can see what an economic failure Silicon Valley has been, due to its lack of Diversity.

Yes, of course capitalism has been leveling the playing field for women and all other groups. This news further confirms. Where is the problem?

Has the percentage of homeless people who are women correspondingly gone up over the interim?

Can't talk about the distinction in standard deviation in cognitive ability for men versus women without addressing the other tail of the distribution.

It is a matter of division of labor. We need to see what the percentage of women is for the top .1% of *spenders*. Also I think the percentage of wealth at death would be interesting. Wives live longer.

Incidentally, this is another "non nefarious" (in fact, even virtuous) contributor to changes in income distribution at the tax payer unit level that has likley contributed to an increase in inequality. (Removing barriers to trade/employment and caps to the rewards of achievement will do this.).

Alternate title:

Women becoming more productive

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So inside the 13mil/yr range.. Can we afford that
with three max players who irrespective of where salary cap goes
will occupy something like 85% of our cap space?

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