Thursday, August 6, 2015


Nima Sanandaji's lengthy paper Scandinavian Unexceptionalism explains why there are so few women in high positions in Nordic businesses. That is, compared to everywhere else;
...on average, in Central and Eastern European countries, 32 per cent of directors and chief executives are women. ...compared with 21 per cent in Northwestern European countries [UK and Germany], 17 per cent in Southern European countries and just 13 per cent in the Nordic nations.
In formerly Communist Bulgaria almost half (48%) of its top executives are women. Amazing, in that Bulgaria has low levels of female workforce participation. What gives?

Incentives. Nordic countries pay women to either not work, or not achieve. Thus, they don't, of necessity, acquire the human capital needed for those top private sector jobs. Call it, untough love. Scandinavian countries have managed to develop a gender-segregated labor market.  Almost half of Danish women who do work, work for government, compared to about 15% of men.

In many of the recently freed (from the yoke of the Soviet Union) Eastern European countries there is less lip service paid to gender equality, but more of it where the rubber meets the road. The female work patterns in the formerly Communist counties are similar to that of Scandinavian men. Women work longer hours in Eastern Europe than do women in Scandinavia. In Bulgaria women actually work longer hours than men. Hence, they acquire more valuable experience in the workplace.

Meanwhile, Swedish and Norwegian women are confined to education and childcare (or other public sector monopolies), thanks to their highly developed welfare systems. As Sanandaji puts it;
While the Scandinavian countries are uniquely gender equal in many respects, their political structures hinder women's career success and entrepreneurship.

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