On Using Pareto Distributions for Measuring Top-Income Gender Disparities

Niels-Jakob Harbo Hansen, Karl Harmenberg, Erik Öberg, Hans Henrik Sievertsen

Research output: Working paperResearch

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Atkinson et al. (2018) propose a measure of the glass ceiling exploiting thattop incomes are approximately Pareto distributed. We clarify how this glass-ceilingcoefficient describes the increasing scarcity of women further up in the income dis-tribution and show how it relates to the top-income gender gap. If interpreting topincome gender differences as caused by a female-specific income tax, the gender gapand glass-ceiling coefficient measure its level and progressivity, respectively. UsingDanish data on earnings, we show that the top gender gap and the glass-ceilingcoefficient evolves differently across time, the life cycle, and educational groups.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [wp]
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesWorking Paper / Department of Economics. Copenhagen Business School


  • Decomposition
  • Gender gap
  • Glass ceiling
  • Summary statistics

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