« Back to Results

Gender in the Innovation Economy

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (PST)

Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 11
Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: Julian Kolev, Southern Methodist University

Shine a Light (On the Bright): The Effect of Awards on Confidence To Speak Up in Gender-Typed Knowledge Work

Jana Gallus
,
University of California-Los Angeles
Emma Heikensten
,
Stockholm School of Economics

Abstract

Collaborative knowledge work may suffer if high-ability individuals do not feel confident to speak up and advance their ideas (e.g., due to self-stereotyping). We test whether recognition through awards increases high-ability group members’ confidence to speak up when working on male-typed knowledge tasks. In a lab context where private feedback was ineffective, we study performance- based recognition with different degrees of publicness: private recognition, semi-public award, ceremony. We thus focus on managerial policies that are widely used in practice but have received limited scholarly attention. First, we show that self-stereotyping affects women’s contribution of ideas in mathematics. Second, awards significantly increase recipients' and hence high-ability subjects’ confidence to speak up. Third, the awards’ visibility does not matter much, except when interacted with gender. In our experiment the gender gap in confidence to speak up disappears among high-ability participants when awards are celebrated in a ceremony with face-to-face recognition. Losers remain unaffected.

Social Influence among Experts: Field Experimental Evidence from Peer Review

Misha Teplitskiy
,
University of Michigan
Hardeep Ranu
,
Harvard University
Gary Gray
,
Harvard University
Eva Guinan
,
Harvard University
Karim Lakhani
,
Harvard Business School and NBER

Abstract

Expert committees are often considered the gold standard of decision-making, but the quality of their decisions depends crucially on how members influence each other’s opinions. We use a field experiment in scientific peer review to measure experts’ susceptibility to social influence, and identify two novel mechanisms through which heterogeneity in susceptibility can bias outcomes. We exposed 247 faculty members at seven U.S. medical schools reviewing biomedical research proposals to (artificial) scores from other reviews, manipulating both the discipline and direction of those scores. Reviewers updated 47% of the time, but with significant heterogeneity by gender, academic status, and score direction. We find that even in a completely anonymous setting, women scholars updated their scores 13% more than men, and even more so when they worked in male-dominated fields, while very highly cited “superstar” reviewers updated 24% less than others. If evaluators tend to champion “their” candidates, lower updating by high status evaluators advantages their candidates. We also find that lower scores were “sticky” and updated (upward) 38% less than medium and high scores. This asymmetry can favor conservative proposals, as proposals’ demerits loom larger than merits. Our results indicate that expert group deliberation processes that are widespread throughout the economy are subject to biases that require significant attention by scholars and practitioners.

Is Blinded Review Enough? How Gendered Outcomes Arise Even under Anonymous Evaluation

Julian Kolev
,
Southern Methodist University
Yuly Fuentes-Medel
,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fiona Murray
,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract

Blinded review is a direct and increasingly popular approach to reducing the impact of bias, yet its effectiveness is not fully understood. We take advantage of the blinded-review process to document the drivers of gender inclusion in a unique setting: innovative research grant proposals submitted to the Gates Foundation from 2008-2017. Despite blinded review, we find that female applicants receive significantly lower scores, which cannot be explained by ex-ante measures of applicant quality or applicants’ choice of topic. By contrast, we show that the gender score gap is fully mediated after controlling for text-based measures of proposals’ titles and descriptions, with female applicants tending to use narrow, topic-specific words that tend to receive lower reviewer scores. Importantly, the text-based measures that predict higher reviewer scores do not also predict higher ex-post innovative performance. Our results reveal that gender differences in writing and communication are a significant contributor to gender disparities in the evaluation and funding of science and innovation.

Driving Inventor Inclusivity in the Innovation Economy: What Is the Role of Universities and Their Top Inventors as Catalysts for Change?

Mercedes Delgado
,
Copenhagen Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fiona Murray
,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract

Despite growing STEM participation, the contribution of women to patenting is persistently low. We explore the drivers of gender inclusion in the innovation economy by examining U.S. inventors (patentees) at leading universities. If universities, early in women’s careers, successfully promote female inventors they will amplify inclusion in the economy by facilitating that women become productive inventors throughout their careers. Analyzing patents by gender, we build novel measures of female inventor inclusivity for universities and their top inventors. Our analysis shows that universities have greater inventor inclusivity than the US economy. However, there is an inventor gender gap in universities that it is not just a problem of STEM supply: female inventor Inclusion is not rising as fast as women in STEM PhDs. Within universities, top inventors are more inclusive. Importantly, female top inventors are a key catalyst for change in facilitating the inclusion of women in the innovation economy.

Female Inventors and Inventions

Rembrand Koning
,
Harvard Business School
Sampsa Samila
,
IESE Business School
John-Paul Ferguson
,
McGill University

Abstract

Does increasing the number of female medical researchers produce greater medical advances for women? In this paper, we investigate if the gender of inventors shapes their types of inventions. Using data on the universe of US biomedical patents, we find that patents with women inventors are significantly more likely to focus on female diseases and conditions. Consistent with the idea of women researchers choosing to innovate for women, we find stronger effects when the lead inventor on the patent is a woman. Women-led research teams are 22 percent more likely to focus on female health outcomes. This link between the gender focus of the scientist and the type of invention, in combination with the rise of women inventors, appears to have shifted the direction of innovation towards female conditions and diseases over the last four decades. Our findings suggest that the demography of inventors matters not just for who invents but also for what is invented.
Discussant(s)
Catherine Eckel
,
Texas A&M University
Erin Scott
,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lisa Cook
,
Michigan State University
Shulamit Kahn
,
Boston University
Danielle Li
,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
JEL Classifications
  • J1 - Demographic Economics
  • O3 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights