Her odds

Kevin Lewis

April 20, 2017

The Effects of Gender Composition on Women’s Experience in Math Work Groups
Sarah Grover, Tiffany Ito & Bernadette Park
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming


The present studies tested a model outlining the effects of group gender composition on self- and others’ perceptions of women’s math ability in a truly interactive setting with groups composed entirely of naïve participants (N = 158 4-person groups across 3 studies). One woman in each group was designated to be the “expert” by having her complete a tutorial that gave her task-relevant knowledge for a subsequent group task. Group gender composition was hypothesized to influence perceptions of women’s math ability through intrapersonal processes (stereotype threat effects on performance) and interpersonal processes (social cohesion between the expert and other group members). Group composition affected the experts’ performance in the group math task, but importantly, it also affected their social cohesion with group members. Moreover, both of these effects — lowered performance and poorer social cohesion in male-dominated groups — made independent contributions in accounting for group gender composition effects on perceptions of women’s math ability (Studies 1 and 2). Boundary conditions were examined in a 3rd study. Women who had a history of excelling in math and had chosen a math-intensive STEM major were selected to be the designated experts. We predicted and found this would be sufficient to eliminate the effect of group gender composition on interpersonal processes, and correspondingly the effect on women’s perceived math ability. Interestingly (and consistent with past work on stereotype threat effects among highly domain-identified individuals), there were continued performance differences indicative of effects on intrapersonal processes.

Testosterone and Tendency to Engage in Self-Employment
Nicos Nicolaou, Pankaj Patel & Marcus Wolfe
Management Science, forthcoming


Does testosterone increase the tendency to engage in self-employment? The results presented to date have been mixed. Using three different studies, we provide additional evidence on the relationship between testosterone and self-employment. Drawing on a cross section of 2,146 individuals (1,178 males and 968 females) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys’ 2011–2012 sample, and controlling for endogeneity (with red blood cell count, percentage hematocrit, and zinc supplement intake in the past 30 days as instruments), we find that serum testosterone levels are positively associated with self-employment for males (marginally significant, two-tailed test). As testosterone levels could be affected by social, economic, and biological factors during one’s life course, we draw more robust inferences by assessing whether the 2D:4D digit ratio, a marker of prenatal testosterone exposure, influences the likelihood of self-employment. From Understanding Society’s Innovation Panel Wave 6, we tested separate models for 449 males and 525 females, and our results indicate that males (respectively, females) with a lower 2D:4D ratio in their left hand, or higher prenatal testosterone exposure, have a significantly greater (respectively, marginally significant) likelihood of self-employment (two-tailed test). Finally, we examine the twin testosterone transfer effect in a sample of opposite-sex and same-sex twins from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States and provide additional support for the marginally significant (two-tailed test) positive association between testosterone and self-employment.

When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct
Mark Egan, Gregor Matvos & Amit Seru
NBER Working Paper, March 2017


We examine gender discrimination in the financial advisory industry. We study a less salient mechanism for discrimination, firm discipline following missteps. There are substantial differences in the punishment of misconduct across genders. Although both female and male advisers are disciplined for misconduct, female advisers are punished more severely. Following an incidence of misconduct, female advisers are 20% more likely to lose their jobs, and 30% less likely to find new jobs relative to male advisers. Females face harsher punishment despite engaging in less costly misconduct and despite a lower propensity towards repeat offenses. Evidence suggests that the observed behavior is not driven by productivity differences across advisers. Rather, we find supporting evidence for taste-based discrimination. For females, a disproportionate share of misconduct complaints is initiated by the firm, instead of customers or regulators. Moreover, there is significant heterogeneity among firms. Firms with a greater percentage of male executives/owners at a given branch, tend to punish female advisers more severely following misconduct, and also tend to hire fewer female advisers with past record of misconduct.

Choking Under Pressure and Gender: Evidence from Professional Tennis
Danny Cohen-Zada et al.
Ben-Gurion University Working Paper, February 2017


We exploit a unique setting in which two professionals compete in a real-life tennis contest with high monetary rewards in order to assess how men and women respond to competitive pressure. Comparing their performance in low-stakes versus high-stakes situations, we find that men consistently choke under competitive pressure, but with regard to women the results are mixed. Furthermore, even if women show a drop in performance in the more crucial stages of the match, it is in any event about 50% smaller than that of men. These findings are robust to different specifications and estimation strategies.

When Men Perceive Anti-male Bias: Status-Legitimizing Beliefs Increase Discrimination Against Women
Clara Wilkins et al.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming


This research examines how increasing perceptions of anti-male bias lead men who endorse the gender status hierarchy to perpetuate social inequality. For men primed with anti-male bias, greater status-legitimizing belief (SLB) endorsement was associated with more negative evaluations of a female target and less desire to help her. SLB endorsement was unrelated to evaluations and helping when men were primed with bias against an outgroup (Study 1). Furthermore, when men perceived anti-male bias, priming SLB caused more negative evaluations and fewer helping intentions toward female targets (Study 2). An analysis of the free-response feedback that participants provided targets revealed ingroup favoritism; men primed with SLBs provided male targets more constructive feedback than they did to female targets (Study 2). Thus, some men may be particularly likely to display discrimination against women when they perceive bias against their own group. We discuss how this behavior may perpetuate social disparities.

Stressing the advantages of female leadership can place women at a disadvantage
Joris Lammers & Anne Gast
Social Psychology, January/February 2017, Pages 28-39


Women are still underrepresented in management and men hold the majority of higher positions. Nonetheless, one often-heard claim in popular media is that female people-centered leadership skills (empathy, communication, etc.) are a better match for the business world – especially in the future. Furthermore, a related idea is that women may use this advantage to take over men’s dominant position in leadership. Four studies show that such claims paradoxically maintain gender inequality, by undermining support for affirmative action to reduce female underrepresentation in leadership. Where earlier research shows that positive stereotypes can hurt women by suggesting that they are unqualified for leadership, the current findings show that even positive stereotypes that claim that women are particularly well qualified for leadership can hurt women in their chances for gaining leadership positions. Although it is good to highlight the advantages of female leadership, exaggerated and sensationalist claims contribute to a perpetuation of gender inequality.

Working women in the city and urban wage growth in the United States
Amanda Weinstein
Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming


Although the female labor force participation rate of women has been steadily rising in the United States, there is substantial variation across cities. Previous cross-county studies find that gender inequality in employment reduces economic efficiency hindering growth. This result is examined in a regional context, across metropolitan areas in the United States. Throughout multiple model formulations including instrumental variables approaches, higher initial female labor force participation rates are positively related to subsequent wage growth in metropolitan areas between 1980 and 2010. Specifically, every 10 percent increase in female labor force participation rates is associated with an increase in real wages of nearly 5 percent.

The Downside of Good Peers: How Classroom Composition Differentially Affects Men's and Women's STEM Persistence
Stefanie Fischer
Labour Economics, forthcoming


This paper investigates whether class composition can help explain why women are disproportionately more likely to fall out of the “STEM” pipeline. Identification comes from a standardized enrollment process at a large public university that essentially randomly assigns freshmen to different mandatory introductory chemistry lectures. Using administrative data, I find that women who are enrolled in a class with higher ability peers are less likely to graduate with a STEM degree, while men's STEM persistence is unaffected. The effect is largest for women in the bottom third of the ability distribution. I rule out that this is driven solely by grades.

The Role of Confidence and Noncognitive Skills for Post-Baccalaureate Academic and Labor Market Outcomes
Weiwei Chen, Wayne Grove & Andrew Hussey
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, June 2017, Pages 10–29


Increasingly researchers include information about noncognitive abilities in their analyses of similar people's educational choices and subsequent labor market outcomes. We contribute to this literature by considering the dual roles of confidence in one’s abilities and noncognitive skills and characteristics in predicting several subsequent MBA program and employment outcomes among a sample of GMAT test takers, with a focus on identifying possible gender differences in these relationships. Self-reported noncognitive skills correlate similarly for men’s and women’s managerial, earnings and employment satisfaction outcomes. In contrast, though, distinct gender differences emerge regarding perceptions of one's mathematical and verbal ability — with confidence in quantitative ability especially associated with men’s and confidence in verbal ability mainly associated with women’s outcomes. Non-linearity analysis reveals that lower earnings are correlated with men who have low confidence in their quantitative ability and with women who have high confidence in their verbal ability.

It Is Not My Place! Psychological Standing and Men’s Voice and Participation in Gender-Parity Initiatives
Elad Sherf, Subrahmaniam Tangirala & Katy Connealy Weber
Organization Science, forthcoming


Attempts to improve gender parity at workplaces are more effective when organizations mobilize their entire workforce, including men, to participate (i.e., speak up with ideas, volunteer, or serve as champions) in gender-parity initiatives. Yet, frequently, men are hesitant to participate in such initiatives. We explicate one reason for such hesitation on the part of men and suggest ways organizations can address this challenge. Using four studies (correlational as well as experimental), we demonstrate that men experience lower psychological standing (i.e., a subjective judgment of legitimacy to perform an action) with respect to gender-parity initiatives that leads them to participate less in such initiatives. We explain how psychological standing provides a complementary explanation to the current narrative in the literature suggesting that men’s poor participation results from sexist or discriminatory attitudes toward gender parity. We also establish that psychological standing influences participation over and above efficacy, instrumentality, and psychological safety and highlight how organizations can increase men’s participation by providing them with psychological standing when soliciting their participation in gender-parity initiatives. We discuss the implications of our findings for the literatures on gender parity, change management, and employee voice and participation.

Gender and the MBA: Differences in Career Trajectories, Institutional Support, and Outcomes
Sarah Patterson, Sarah Damaske & Christen Sheroff
Gender & Society, forthcoming


This study asks how men’s and women’s careers diverge following MBA graduation from an elite university, using qualitative interview data from 74 respondents. We discover men and women follow three career pathways post-graduation: lockstep (stable employment), transitory (3 or more employers), and exit (left workforce). While similar proportions of men and women followed the lockstep pathways and launched accelerated careers, sizable gender differences emerged on the transitory pathway; men’s careers soared as women’s faltered on this path — the modal category for both. On the transitory path, men fared much better than women when moving to new organizations, suggesting that gender may become more salient when people have a shorter work history with a company. Our findings suggest that clear building blocks to promotions reduce gender bias and ambiguity in the promotion process, but multiple external moves hamper women, putting them at a clear disadvantage to men whose forward progress is less likely to be stalled by such moves.

Degrees of Difference: Gender Segregation of U.S. Doctorates by Field and Program Prestige
Kim Weeden, Sarah Thébaud & Dafna Gelbgiser
Sociological Science, February 2017


Women earn nearly half of doctoral degrees in research fields, yet doctoral education in the United States remains deeply segregated by gender. We argue that in addition to the oft-noted segregation of men and women by field of study, men and women may also be segregated across programs that differ in their prestige. Using data on all doctorates awarded in the United States from 2003 to 2014, field-specific program rankings, and field-level measures of math and verbal skills, we show that (1) “net” field segregation is very high and strongly associated with field-level math skills; (2) “net” prestige segregation is weaker than field segregation but still a nontrivial form of segregation in doctoral education; (3) women are underrepresented among graduates of the highest-and to a lesser extent, the lowest-prestige programs; and (4) the strength and pattern of prestige segregation varies substantially across fields, but little of this variation is associated with field skills.

Social status strategy in early adolescent girls: Testosterone and value-based decision making
Stephanie Cardoos et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, July 2017, Pages 14–21


There has been strong interest, spanning several disciplines, in understanding adolescence as a developmental period of increased risk-taking behavior. Our goals focus on one line of investigation within this larger developmental risk framework. Specifically, we examined levels of pubertal hormones in girls in relation to their willingness to take greater financial risks to gain social status. To this end, we tested the hypothesis that higher levels of testosterone during the ages of pubertal maturation are associated with a greater willingness to sacrifice money for social admiration. Sixty-three girls ages 10-14 (Mage = 12.74) participated in laboratory measures and completed at-home saliva sample collection. The Pubertal Development Scale (PDS) and basal hormone levels (testosterone, estradiol, DHEA) measured pubertal maturation. We made use of a developmentally appropriate version of an Auction Task in which adolescents could take financial risks in order to gain socially motivated outcomes (social status). PDS and testosterone, were each associated with overall levels of financial risk taking over the course of the Auction Task. In hierarchical models, PDS and testosterone were predictors of the slope of overbidding over the course of the task. Results provide evidence for the role of testosterone and pubertal maturation in girls’ motivations to engage in costly decision making in order to gain social status. Findings contribute to our understanding of the developmental underpinnings of some interesting aspects of adolescent risk behavior.

Career Implications of Having a Female-Friendly Supervisor
Steven Bednar & Dora Gicheva
ILR Review, forthcoming


The authors study how variations in supervisors’ attitudes toward working with females generate gender differences in workers’ observed career outcomes. The employment records of athletic directors and head coaches in a set of NCAA Division I programs provide longitudinal matched employer–worker data. Supervisors are observed at multiple establishments, which allows the authors to construct a measure of revealed type and to examine its role for the performance and turnover of lower-level employees. The authors observe that the careers of male and female workers progress differently depending on supervisor type in a way that is consistent with a type-based mentoring model. The results suggest that more focus should be placed on managerial attitudes revealed through actions in addition to observable attributes such as gender.

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