Sources of Structural Inequality in Managerial Labor Markets

27 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2003

Date Written: June 2003


This article proposes two mechanisms that allow actors to obtain unearned advantages in labor markets. The first mechanism is consistent with collusive closure arguments. However, it questions the assumption that those who seek to benefit from collusive closure will always initiate it. Instead, it suggests that under certain cultural conditions, closure may arise through a series of self-reproducing social constructions that restrict access to a position to those who conform to certain socially defined criteria. The second mechanism is consistent with Sorensen's discussion of the role of composite rents in generating unearned advantages. Whereas Sorensen focused on composite rents between actors and productive assets, the mechanism presented here suggests that actors can obtain unearned advantages even if workers are not specific to productive assets, as long as there are composite rents between these productive assets. Data in support of the models are provided from the executive labor market.

Keywords: Executive Labor Markets, Governance, CEO

JEL Classification: J3, J6, L1

Suggested Citation

Khurana, Rakesh and Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan, Sources of Structural Inequality in Managerial Labor Markets (June 2003). Available at SSRN: or

Rakesh Khurana (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-4137 (Phone)
617-496-6554 (Fax)

Mikolaj Jan Piskorski

IMD ( email )

Ch. de Bellerive 23
P.O. Box 915
CH-1001 Lausanne

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