Having it all

Kevin Lewis

July 18, 2019

Are Early Stage Investors Biased Against Women?
Michael Ewens & Richard Townsend
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

We study whether early stage investors have gender biases using a proprietary data set from AngelList that allows us to observe private interactions between investors and fundraising startups. We find that male investors express less interest in female entrepreneurs compared to observably similar male entrepreneurs. In contrast, female investors express more interest in female entrepreneurs. These findings do not appear to be driven by within-gender screening/monitoring advantages or gender differences in risk preferences. Moreover, the male-led startups that male investors express interest in do not outperform the female-led startups they express interest in — they underperform. Overall, the evidence is consistent with gender biases.

Token Female Voice Enactment in Traditionally Male-Dominated Teams: Facilitating Conditions and Consequences for Performance
Crystal Farh et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

When is a token female’s voice incorporated into the actions of a traditionally male-dominated team and to what ends? Drawing from the tokenism, gender stereotypes, and minority influence literatures, we advance a model that specifies the conditions that facilitate token female voice enactment and when enacting her voice enhances team performance. Using a sample of active duty military men and women, we employed live observation techniques to study voice enactment in all-male teams versus female token teams (i.e., teams with a token female member) throughout a series of complex and physically demanding tasks. Our findings revealed that a) token female voice enactment was higher when team leaders possessed more favorable beliefs about women’s capabilities in the military, and b) token female voice enactment enhanced team performance in more complex tasks but harmed team performance in less complex tasks. Additionally, our supplementary analyses revealed that female token teams were more reflective before engaging in action relative to all-male teams that tended to engage in agentic, “action-first” strategies. Theoretical and practical implications for facilitating female voice enactment in traditionally male-dominated contexts are discussed.

Girls’ comparative advantage in reading can largely explain the gender gap in math-related fields
Thomas Breda & Clotilde Napp
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Gender differences in math performance are now small in developed countries and they cannot explain on their own the strong underrepresentation of women in math-related fields. This latter result is however no longer true once gender differences in reading performance are also taken into account. Using individual-level data on 300,000 15-y-old students in 64 countries, we show that the difference between a student performance in reading and math is 80% of a standard deviation (SD) larger for girls than boys, a magnitude considered as very large. When this difference is controlled for, the gender gap in students’ intentions to pursue math-intensive studies and careers is reduced by around 75%, while gender gaps in self-concept in math, declared interest for math or attitudes toward math entirely disappear. These latter variables are also much less able to explain the gender gap in intentions to study math than is students’ difference in performance between math and reading. These results are in line with choice models in which educational decisions involve intraindividual comparisons of achievement and self-beliefs in different subjects as well as cultural norms regarding gender. To directly show that intraindividual comparisons of achievement impact students’ intended careers, we use differences across schools in teaching resources dedicated to math and reading as exogenous variations of students’ comparative advantage for math. Results confirm that the comparative advantage in math with respect to reading at the time of making educational choices plays a key role in the process leading to women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields.

Updating impressions: The differential effects of new performance information on evaluations of women and men
Madeline Heilman, Francesca Manzi & Suzette Caleo
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, May 2019, Pages 105-121

In three experimental studies we investigated whether changes in performance would have different consequences on the competence perceptions and performance evaluations of women and men whose earlier performance had been unmistakably successful or unsuccessful. We reasoned that the ambiguity created by new performance information that was inconsistent with previous performance information would facilitate stereotype-based gender bias. The results provided support for this idea. Whereas no differences emerged between reactions to men and women when performance remained the same, differences emerged when performance changed. Moreover, regardless of the nature of the change in performance, in male gender-typed domains women were evaluated more negatively than men: an improvement in performance had a less beneficial effect for women than for men (Study 1) and a decline in performance had a more detrimental effect for women than for men (Study 2). These effects were shown to be moderated by the gender-type of the field. Women were evaluated more negatively than men whether performance improved or declined only when the field was male gender-typed; when the field was female gender-typed, men were evaluated more negatively than women (Study 3). These findings are consistent with the idea that gender stereotypes and the performance expectations they produce can influence responses to new information about men’s and women’s performance.

Testosterone administration increases social discounting in healthy males
Yin Wu et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, October 2019, Pages 127-134

Although testosterone is thought to induce antisocial and aggressive behavior, research on social economic interactions has associated it with prosocial and affiliative behavior. Here, we investigated the effects of testosterone on social distance-dependent generosity in an economic discounting task where participants chose between selfish and generous alternatives. We administered testosterone gel or placebo to men in a double-blind, randomized design and measured how willing they were to share rewards with close and distant others. Across two studies (total n = 174), testosterone administration consistently increased social discounting, that is participants became more selfish, particularly with regard to distant others (vs. close others). This effect was not explained by testosterone-induced increases in social distance perception. Our findings provide causal evidence that testosterone reduces generosity in human economic decision-making. Moreover, they suggest that the valuation and the perception of social distance are independently affected by testosterone.

To be or not to be sorry? How CEO gender impacts the effectiveness of organizational apologies
Amanda Cowen & Nicole Votolato Montgomery
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

We examine whether consumer reactions to a product failure are affected by the gender of the CEO to whom the organization’s postfailure communications are attributed. We find that CEO gender and response type interact to affect both consumers’ perceptions of the organization, and their propensity to purchase from it following a product failure. Specifically, consumers’ reactions to unqualified apologies versus other types of accommodative responses do not differ when these responses are attributed to male CEOs. However, unqualified apologies are generally more successful for female CEOs than alternative responses. We show that such differences can be attenuated by increasing perceptions of a female CEO as agentic. We attribute these findings to consumers’ perceptions of how fairly they have been treated by an organization in the wake of a failure (i.e., interactional fairness). Our findings contribute to the crisis management literature by demonstrating how personal characteristics can shape the effectiveness of organizations’ crisis response strategies, thereby highlighting one implication of CEOs’ growing public visibility. In doing so, our findings also advance research on female CEOs and how gender-based expectations may impact organizational outcomes.

CFO Gender and Financial Statement Irregularities
Vishal Gupta et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

The increasing presence of women in upper echelon positions draws attention to the possible effects of executive gender on corporate decisions and actions. In this study, we formulate theory about the impact of CFO gender on financial misreporting to generate two key insights. First, we hypothesize that firms with female CFOs will have a lower likelihood of financial misreporting than comparable firms with male CFOs. Second, we argue that the relation between CFO gender and financial misreporting will be contingent on governance mechanisms (e.g., institutional ownership and analyst coverage) such that misreporting of firms with male CFOs will differ more from that of firms with female CFOs when governance is weak. Our results, based on a novel leading indicator of the likelihood of financial misreporting, provide support for our predictions. Various alternative econometric specifications, including (but not limited to) exogenous shocks, propensity score matching, and modeling treatment-effects, random effects, firm-fixed effects, and hybrid effects provide general support for our theory and hypotheses. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Why female board representation matters: The role of female directors in reducing male CEO overconfidence
Jie Chen et al.
Journal of Empirical Finance, September 2019, Pages 70-90

We suggest a novel reason why there might be a need for female board representation. Female participation in the boardroom attenuates the CEO’s overconfident views about his firm’s prospects as we find that male CEOs at firms with female directors are less likely to hold deep-in-the-money options. Further, we argue that female board representation matters for industries where male CEO overconfidence is more prevalent. We find support for our argument as female directors are associated with less aggressive investment policies, better acquisition decisions, and improved financial performance for firms operating in industries with high overconfidence prevalence. We also identify a market failure around economic crises. Firms that do not have (sufficient) female board representation suffer a greater drop in performance as a result of the crisis than those that have female board representation.

Get her off my screen: Taste-based discrimination in a high-stakes popularity contest
Tom Lane
Oxford Economic Papers, July 2019, Pages 548–563

This study tests for taste-based discrimination in a high-stakes popularity contest. Data is taken from audience voting in six countries on the reality television show Big Brother, a setting where statistical discrimination can play no role. The audience votes as to which contestants remain on the show, the winner of which earns a large cash prize; I test the grounds on which voters discriminate, whether by gender, race, or age. Results show a striking taste for discrimination against women: being female makes an eligible contestant significantly more likely to lose an audience vote in five of the seven versions of Big Brother analysed. There is also evidence of a taste for discrimination against non-white contestants amongst audiences in Germany, Italy and the UK. However, little support is found for taste-based age discrimination. I present evidence that the levels of discrimination identified are robust to differences in the types of contestant appearing on Big Brother.

Female Inventors and Inventions
Rembrand Koning, Sampsa Samila & John-Paul Ferguson
Harvard Working Paper, June 2019

Has the increase in female medical researchers led to more 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 26 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 influenced the direction of innovation 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.

Do Relative Advantages in STEM Grades Explain the Gender Gap in Selection of a STEM Major in College? A Multimethod Answer
Elizabeth Stearns et al.
American Educational Research Journal, forthcoming

Using a multimethod approach, we investigate whether gender gaps in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) major declaration in college are explained by differences in the grades that students earn in STEM versus non-STEM subjects. With quantitative data, we find that relative advantages in college academic performance in STEM versus non-STEM subjects do not contribute to the gender gap in STEM major declaration. To explore alternative explanations for gender gaps in major declaration, we analyze interviews with college seniors, finding that they recognize many other factors, including their interests in subject matter and confidence, are key in pushing them from STEM or pulling them into non-STEM majors. We conclude that future research seeking to account for gender gaps in STEM majors must extend beyond academic performance.

Double isolation: Identity expression threat predicts greater gender disparities in computer science
Sapna Cheryan et al.
Self and Identity, forthcoming

Three studies examine the relationship between women’s expression of interest in computer science and identity expression threat, the concern about conveying an identity inconsistent with one's gender role. Undergraduates perceive academic majors to signal who they are to peers (Study 1). Women imagining majoring in computer science report greater identity expression threat from their peers outside computer science than from those inside the field (Study 2). Women report greater identity expression threat in computer science (but not biology or English) than do men. Identity expression threat mediates gender differences in reported likelihood of downplaying interest in computer science (Study 3). Women considering computer science perceive they will be doubly isolated, both from those within and outside the field.

The impact of women above the political glass ceiling: Evidence from a Norwegian executive gender quota reform
Benny Geys & Rune Sørensen
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Women have historically been underrepresented in democratic assemblies, particularly in top positions with executive powers. Most gender quota reforms address this by mandating a more equal gender representation on election lists. In contrast, a 1992 legislative reform in Norway required parties' candidate lists for the local executive board to comprise at least 40% politicians of each gender. This legal change was not only exogenously imposed by a higher-level government, but also generated distinct quota-induced constraints across Norwegian municipalities. We exploit the resulting variation in ‘quota shocks’ using a difference-in-differences design to identify the quota's effect on women's political representation as well as local public policies. We find that more women enter the executive board after the reform, though spill-overs on women's representation in the local council and on the probability of a female mayor or top administrator are weak. We also find no consistent evidence for shifts in public policies due to increased representation of women in positions with executive powers.

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