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Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 3
American Economic Association
Interventions to Close Gender Gaps – What Works and What Can Backfire
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (PDT)
- Chair: Ragan Petrie, Texas A&M University
Luck or Skill: How Women and Men React to Noisy Feedback
AbstractWe design an experiment that shows that noisy feedback about relative standing elicits differential responses by gender and may exacerbate gender gaps in competitiveness and performance. Specifically, with limited feedback, women sort into competition based on ability; men only sort into competition on ability after receiving additional feedback on relative standing. Negative feedback eliminates this positive selection into tournament for women but not men. We document a possible mechanism: high-ability women attribute negative feedback to lack of ability, while high-ability men attribute it (correctly) to bad luck. Women are also less likely than men to take credit for positive feedback.
Stereotypes and Belief Updating
AbstractWe explore how beliefs respond to noisy information about own ability across a range of tasks, with a particular focus on how gender stereotypes impact belief updating. Participants in our experiments take tests of their ability across different domains. Absent feedback, beliefs of own ability are strongly influenced by gender stereotypes. We then provide noisy feedback about own absolute performance to participants and elicit posterior beliefs. Gender stereotypes have significant predictive power for posterior beliefs, both through their influence on prior beliefs (as predicted by a Bayesian model) but also through their influence on updating. Both men and women’s beliefs are more responsive to information in gender congruent domains than gender incongruent domains. This is primarily driven by differential reactions to exogenously-received good news about own ability: both men and women react more to good news when it arrives in a gender congruent domain than when it arrives in a gender incongruent domain. Our results have important implications for understanding how feedback shapes gender gaps in self-assessments.
Gender Stereotypes in Deliberation and Team Decisions
AbstractWe explore how groups deliberate and decide on ideas in a laboratory experiment with free-form communication. We find that gender stereotypes play a significant role in which group members are rewarded for their ideas when gender is known: conditional on the quality of their ideas, individuals are less likely to be rewarded by the group in gender incongruent domains (i.e. male-typed domains for women). This is partly due to discrimination, and partly due to differences in self-promotion. The conversation data reveal great similarity across men’s and women’s communication styles, but point to significant biases in how these styles are perceived.
Banning Negotiation: Is Wage Dispersion Maintained When Left to Manager Discretion?
AbstractNegotiation is seen as contributing to earnings inequality because it may allow more productive workers to exploit their bargaining position, and because negotiation skills cause variation in compensation conditional on productivity. Evidence of the latter has led to a push for policies that limit the effect negotiation skills have on compensation, and concerns that gender differences in negotiation contribute to the persistent gender wage gap has led some corporations to ban negotiations. To the extent that negotiation helps moderate explicit and implicit bias, it is however unclear that inequality diminishes when left to manager discretion. We present a first examination of a negotiation-ban counterfactual and investigate manager-selected compensation when workers can and cannot negotiate their salary. Workers are assigned either a high or low productivity task which ensures variation in bargaining power and in subjective assessment of worker effort. Inequality is seen between and within tasks when negotiation is permitted and this difference in earnings is partially attributed to negotiation. In particular we find for the more productive task that negotiation increases earnings and causes a gender wage gap, as only men gain from negotiation. A negotiation ban however reduces inequality and reduces the relative pay advantage of men on the high-productivity task. We find under a negotiation ban that men and women receive the same compensation conditional on task.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
George Mason University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Melbourne
University of Wisconsin-Madison
- C9 - Design of Experiments
- J7 - Labor Discrimination