Closing Gender Gaps By Design: Context, Confidence, and Other Excuses
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Lise Vesterlund, University of Pittsburgh
Room Composition Effects on Risk Taking by Gender
AbstractWe present evidence of a direct social context effect on decision-making under uncertainty: the gender composition of those in the room when making individual risky decisions significantly alters choices even when the actions or presence of others are not payoff relevant. In our environment, decision makers do not know the choices made by others, nor can they be inferred from the experiment. We find that women become more risk taking as the proportion of men in the room increases, but the behavior of men is unaffected by who is present. This is most consistent with women being aware of the social context and imitating the expected behavior of others. Our results imply that the environment in which individual decisions are made can change expressed preferences and that aggregate behavior may be context dependent. This is important for understanding behavior in organizations as well as how individual decisions may vary across environments.
When gender discrimination is not about gender
AbstractWe use an experiment to show that employers prefer to hire male over female workers for a male-typed task even when they have identical resumes. Using a novel control condition, we document that this discrimination is not specific to gender. Employers are simply less willing to hire a worker from a group that performs worse on average, even when this group is instead defined by birth-month, a non-stereotypical characteristic. A reluctance to discriminate emerges if workers share the gender or birth month of the worker from the worse-performing group, but even then, a small “excuse” counters this reluctance.
Can You Hear Me Now: Gender Bias in the Consideration of Ideas
AbstractNew data from a Russian game show reveal that female players of equal ability are significantly less likely to be picked by male team captains to answer a given question as compared to their male counterparts. We design a controlled laboratory experiment that sheds light on why the ideas contributed by men may be evaluated differently as compared to ideas contributed by women of the same baseline ability. We use a simulated group discussion with a novel task to explore this question. Subjects propose answers to a question, and then have the opportunity to select another individual to answer on behalf of the group. By randomly assigning subjects to treatments where gender is or is not observable and by varying the extent to which players can communicate and express confidence in their ability to answer, we separate the mechanisms behind any gender gap in the probability of being chosen to answer. In particular, consider two possible explanations. Discrimination may be taste-based (pure bias against women), in which case we would expect to see the gender gap only in any treatment where gender is revealed. However, the ways in which women express confidence could also influence outcomes. In this case we would expect to see that women are chosen equally in treatments at some levels of communication, but are less likely to be chosen at other levels of communication, regardless of whether or not gender is revealed.
- J7 - Labor Discrimination
- C9 - Design of Experiments