Race, Glass Ceilings, and Lower Pay for Equal Work
72 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2021 Last revised: 23 Jun 2021
Date Written: May 5, 2021
Using detailed administrative data that allow us to hold gender, education, productivity, timeliness, and work quality constant, we document that minority patent examiners at the U.S. patent office face substantial glass ceilings and pay gaps. The promotion gap relative to White examiners averages 24.3% for Blacks, 10.5% for Hispanics, and 4.5% for Asians, with Black examiners 41.7% less likely than Whites to be promoted to the highest rank. Consistent with statistical discrimination, we find that the promotion gap for senior Black examiners halves around Obama’s 2008 election win and that greater exposure to successful minority examiners affects managers’ promotion decisions positively. We show that promotion gaps have adverse effects on the services the patent office provides to inventors and society.
Keywords: Promotions, Glass Ceilings, Pay, Discrimination, Race, Patents, Innovation
JEL Classification: D23, O31, O34, J15, D91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation