Norway has long been a country looking at how to improve the numbers of women in the workforce. Longer paternity leave policies and more policies toward equal pay have paved the way for some women. New research shows that the country’s most recent push to help balance the gender on executive boards is only influencing women at the very top, according to Marianne Bertrand of Chicago Booth. Bertrand studied the quotas along with Sandra Black of the University of Texas, Sissel Jensen of the Norwegian School of Economics, and Adriana Lleras-Muney of UCLA.

In Norway, corporate boards are now mandated to have at least 40 percent of members be female. And while the regulation, which was introduced in 2003 and officially implemented in 2008, has helped create more gender balance within the upper rungs of company decision-making, it’s had little of the intended effect of created a pipeline of female business executives. The reform “was not accompanied by any change in female enrollment in business education programs,” the researchers write.

In general, many women entering the workforce and building their careers are still hesitant to make career changes based on their perceptions about succeeding at the very top. Young women who were aware of the new quotas did not delay having children or getting married in order to benefit from climbing the corporate ladder, the researchers point out.

Despite a perception of career advancement, even business school enrollment for females has stayed the same. And when the researchers compared post-MBA salaries for business school cohorts that graduated pre and post-quota, they found the same “large gender gap in earnings that emerge in the first few years post graduation.”

The researchers point out that it could take another decade to have the kind of benefits that women need in order to see more gender balance in the workplace. “You have to hope that this will eventually trickle down to having more women in quality positions,” says Bertrand.

More from Chicago Booth Review

More from Chicago Booth

Your Privacy
We want to demonstrate our commitment to your privacy. Please review Chicago Booth's privacy notice, which provides information explaining how and why we collect particular information when you visit our website.