Working Paper No. 1034

The Glass Ceiling in Politics: Formalization and Empirical Tests

Published: August 12, 2014Pages: 66Keywords: Glass ceiling; Political careers; Subnational politics; Women and politics; Supply of politicians; Gender inequality; Racial inequalityJEL-codes: J45; J16; J21; H10

The Glass Ceiling in Politics: Formalization and Empirical Tests Olle Folke and Johanna Rickne

There is a scarcity of women and minorities at the apex of political power. This paper formalizes the concept of the glass ceiling for political organizations and builds on previous research to suggest four testable criteria. A glass ceiling exists if women and/or racial minorities (1) are discriminated against in the organization’s promotion process and (2) the discrimination increases in severity for the top levels of power and over an individual’s career trajectory.

We suggest a series of empirical tests for this phenomenon and apply them to longitudinal data on Swedish politicians. Results show that women face a glass ceiling, while minorities’ career disadvantages are more severe at the earlier career steps (a "sticky floor").

Johanna Rickne


Mob: +46 70 433 7388

Olle Folke


Mob: +46 70 367 0242

Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


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