Do age and gender affect managers’ career progression? Evidence from the careers of movie directors.
Ravid, S. Abraham
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This paper considers discrimination in the market for managerial positions by following the career paths of film directors. Film directors manage multi-million projects and are hired on a project by project basis. We gather data on directors’ film projects from the time they enter the profession. We also study their background prior to the first movie they direct. As shown here and in previous work, the economic success of previous film projects is the main determinant of hiring for a new film, thus our null hypothesis is that controlling for career paths, age gender and race should not matter in landing a new project. However, we find that age matters and although directors start directing on average around age 40, there is evidence of age discrimination even for directors under 50. We also find more subtle evidence for gender bias, particularly in allocating budgets for future projects. We also document that on average, only 12% of an entering cohort of new directors are women and they follow a different path than men in the entertainment industry. It is significant that if there is evidence of discrimination in such an industry where career paths are public knowledge.
Working paper / Open access. JEL Classification: G3, L32,J71
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