Knowledge Teams, Careers, and Gender

Guido Friebel

Joint with Ettore Bocconi Department of Economics


Knowledge Teams, Careers, and Gender

by Guido Friebel (Goethe University)

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Using rich data on personnel records, work assignments, and performance in a financial institution, we uncover the mechanisms leading to promotion gaps in knowledge team- work. We find a substantial promotion gap for women in early careers. Analyzing over 10,000 investment projects, we find that assignments to project team leadership are crucial in explaining the gaps in promotions and affect long-term careers. Assignments to these jobs are carried out by supervisors and favor men. We find causal evidence that male supervisors favor male bankers. A survey among employees indicates that women perceive to be disadvantaged in the assignments of roles, but that they do not differ in the demand for these roles.


Guido Friebel is Professor of Human Resources at Goethe University in Frankfurt. His main research field is organizational and personnel economics. He carries out randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with and within firms, with a view to increase both productivity and worker welfare and to test important theories. He also analyzes observational career and promotion data and writes models about careers, communication and talent management. His other main interest is how institutions shape the accumulation and allocation of human capital, focusing on problems of families, gender, and migration. He is the President of the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, a fellow at CEPR and IZA, a project leader at the Rockwool Foundation in Berlin and an Associate at ZEW, Mannheim. Before joining Goethe, he graduated with a Ph.D. from ULB in Brussels and held positions at the Toulouse School of Economics and at SITE, Stockholm School of Economics.