Equality for whom? Organizational policies and the gender gap across the German earnings distribution

Matt L. Huffman, Joe King, Malte Reichelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Work establishments are critical for the creation and maintenance of gender inequality. Organizational practices, most notably those that formalize personnel systems or target gender inequality, are often assumed to have uniform effects on inequality across the wage hierarchy. This assumption has eluded careful empirical scrutiny. The authors estimate unconditional quantile regressions with a unique German linked employer-employee data set to assess whether formalized human resource practices, female-friendly diversity measures, and the availability of workplace child care facilities affect wage inequality differently across the wage distribution. While these policies reduce gender inequality in general, they do so more strongly near the bottom of the earnings distribution. Policies that formalize personnel systems and explicitly promote female employees are particularly advantageous to women in low-wage jobs. These results suggest that gender policies have a more subtle effect on earnings inequality than previously recognized, requiring scholars and practitioners to investigate their unique effects at various points of the earnings distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-41
Number of pages26
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017


  • Economic inequality
  • Female labor
  • Labor and employment policies
  • Organizational behavior
  • Quantile regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Equality for whom? Organizational policies and the gender gap across the German earnings distribution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this