Understanding Gender Differences in Labor Market Outcomes - Experimental Evidence

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Suite 3
Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: Ragan Petrie, Texas A&M University

Men Don't Ask (Women): Benevolent Sexism in a Negotiation Experiment

Zheng Jai Jennie Huang
,
University of Pennsylvania
Corinne Low
,
University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Prior research has suggested that situations requiring negotiation may disadvantage women (“Women Don’t Ask”). In this paper, we highlight a different gendered element of communication: men behaving in a “benevolently” sexist manner towards female partners. We use a Battle of the Sexes game with unstructured chat communication to study gendered behavior in negotiations. We find that in the absence of communication, there is some gender-based strategic behavior, with men playing more hawkishly against female partners and receiving higher payoffs. However, when communication is introduced, we see actions and behavior equalize across genders. However, this apparent equality is driven by different negotiation approaches by men when facing female versus male partners. Men are less likely to use tough, but effective, negotiation tactics when paired with female partners, and more likely to offer the higher payoff to female partners. We relate these actions to psychology literature on “benevolent sexism” and posit that such “altruistic” gendered behavior has the potential to mask other gendered effects.

Gender, Competitiveness and Study Choices in High School - Evidence from Switzerland

Thomas Buser
,
University of Amsterdam
Noemi Peter
,
University of Groningen
Stefan Wolter
,
University of Bern

Abstract

Willingness to compete has been found to predict individual and gender differences in educational choices and labor market outcomes. We provide further evidence for this relationship by linking Swiss students’ Baccalaureate school (high school) specialization choices to an experimental measure of willingness to compete. Boys are more likely to specialize in math in Baccalaureate school. In line with previous findings, competitive students are more likely to choose a math specialization. Boys are more likely to opt for competition than girls and this gender difference in competitiveness could partially explain why girls are less likely to choose a math-intensive specialization.

Gender Differences in the Allocation of Low-Promotability Tasks: The Role of Backlash

Linda Babcock
,
Carnegie Mellon University
Maria Recalde
,
International Food Policy Research Institute
Lise Vesterlund
,
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract

This research examines the mechanisms that lead women to spend more time than men on low-promotability tasks. In particular, we examine whether gender differences found in previous research—women receiving more requests than men to do these tasks and women being more likely to accept such requests—are exacerbated by the prospect of penalties for declining the request. We replicate these prior findings and find no evidence that penalties exacerbate the gender differences. In addition, we find that men more than women penalize others for saying “no.”

No Gender Difference in Willingness to Compete When Competing against Self

Coren Apicella
,
University of Pennsylvania
Johanna Mollerstrom
,
Humboldt University

Abstract

We report on two experiments investigating whether there is a gender difference in the willingness to compete against oneself (self-competition), similar to what is found when competing against others (other-competition). In one laboratory and one online market experiment, involving 1,200 participants, we replicate the gender-gap in willingness to other-compete but find no evidence of a gender difference in the willingness to self-compete. We explore the roles of risk and confidence and suggest that these factors could account for the different findings. Finally, we document that self- and other-competition boost performance equally well, suggesting effectiveness as a policy.
Discussant(s)
Christine Exley
,
Harvard Business School
Elif Demiral
,
George Mason University
Olga Shurchkov
,
Wellesley College
Anya Samek
,
University of Southern California
JEL Classifications
  • C9 - Design of Experiments
  • J7 - Labor Discrimination