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Gender Differences in Career Progression

Paper Session

Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (PST)

Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 3
Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: Paola Giuliano, University of California-Los Angeles

Experimental Evidence on Male and Female Labor Supply

Sydnee Caldwell
,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract

When firms have market power in the labor market, they have an incentive to wage discriminate between workers based on their ability or willingness to leave for better wages elsewhere. We use data from a series of field experiments to estimate firm substitution elasticities for men and women and measure the potential for a wage gap to emerge due to monopsonistic discrimination. In collaboration with a national rideshare company, we randomly offered samples of male and female drivers wage increases. Treated drivers differed in both the size of the wage increase they were offered and the ease with which they could substitute hours to competing ride-share companies. Changes in hours worked for drivers that could not easily substitute identify intensive and extensive margin Frisch elasticities for men and women. Variation in access to competing platforms identifies firm substitution elasticities. We find that women have Frisch elasticities double those of men on both the intensive and extensive margins. However, women seem no less willing than men to switch firms in response to changes in relative wages. These results fail to support the hypothesis that gender differences in labor supply response are important for pay gaps for low-skilled workers.

The Old Boys' Club: Schmoozing and the Gender Gap

Ricardo Perez-Truglia
,
University of California-Los Angeles
Zoe Cullen
,
Harvard University

Abstract

The old boys' club refers to the alleged advantage that male employees have over their female counterparts in interacting with powerful men. For example, male employees may schmooze with their managers in ways that female employees cannot. We study this phenomenon using data from a large financial institution. We use an event study analysis of manager rotation to estimate the causal effect of managers' gender on their employees' career progression. We find that when male employees are assigned to male managers, they are promoted faster in the following years than they would have been if they were assigned to female managers. Female employees, on the contrary, have the same career progression regardless of the manager's gender. These differences in career progression cannot be explained by differences in effort or output. This male-to-male advantage can explain a third of the gender gap in promotions. Moreover, we provide suggestive evidence that these manager effects are due to socialization between male employees and male managers. We show that these manager effects are present only if the employee works in close proximity to the manager. We use survey data to show that, after transitioning to a male manager, male employees spend more time with their managers. Finally, we study a shock to socialization within males, based on the anecdotal evidence that employees who smoke tend to spend more time together. We find that when male employees who smoke switch to male managers who smoke, they spend more of their breaks with their managers and are promoted faster in the following years. Moreover, the effects of these smoking manager switches are similar in timing and magnitude to the effects of the gender manager switches.

Ask and You Shall Receive? Gender Differences in Regrading Requests

Basit Zafar
,
Arizona State University
Cher Li
,
Colorado State University

Abstract

Using unique administrative dataset from a large 4-year public university that contains not only the final grade records but also any grade changes related to the records, we document that males are significantly more likely to have a favorable grade change on their transcript. This gender difference in students’ grade changes persists across colleges and cannot be fully explained by instructors’ sex, track, ranking, department, and college. The difference in regrades by gender may have direct implications for labor market outcomes- employers frequently require candidates who apply for entry-level positions to provide their transcripts, and many competitive positions require certain GPA requirements. Observational data do not allow us to discern drivers of this gender difference. For example, it could be that (1) males are more optimistic about their ex-post performance and hence more willing to ask instructors for grade changes; (2) conditional on perceived ability, males are more willing to ask; (3) female students make regrading requests during the semester which in turn lowers their demand for regrading requests at the end of the semester. To understand these differences, we are in the process of conducting surveys of both instructors and students. In addition, we simulate such a setting in a controlled laboratory setting-- students perform tasks where the final payoff depends on performance. However, final performance is reported with error, which could be re-evaluated if the individual pays a cost for the reassessment. This setup allows us to investigate whether there are gender differences in regrade requests, and the extent to which they are driven by gender differences in willingness to ask, risk preferences, and perceived ability.

It Takes Two: Gender Differences in Group Work

Siri Isaksson
,
Harvard University

Abstract

This study tests for gender differences in credit claimed for individual contributions to group work. I introduce a novel experimental design in which two subjects work together on solving a computerized puzzle, by making alternating moves. Participants play nine rounds, each time with a new partner and puzzle. After each puzzle, they are asked to estimate their contributions towards the solution in incentivized questions. There are no gender differences in ability: women and men are equally good at solving the puzzle both individually and in teams. Despite their equal contribution, women consistently claim less credit than men. This effect is strongest among high contributing women, and women in groups that implemented more complex solutions. I also explore the propensity of participants to undo a partner's move, and I find that men are more likely to correct a partner when he or she made a move that was wrong. These results suggest that gender differences in claiming credit may contribute to the labor market gender gap.
Discussant(s)
Robert Metcalfe
,
Boston University
Jessica Pan
,
National University of Singapore
Bo Cowgill
,
Columbia University
Laura Gee
,
Tufts University
JEL Classifications
  • J7 - Labor Discrimination
  • D9 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics