In All Fairness

Kevin Lewis

March 23, 2023

Dropping Anchor: A Field Experiment Assessing a Salary History Ban with Archival Replication
Eliot Sherman, Raina Brands & Gillian Ku
Management Science, forthcoming 


Could a salary history ban (SHB) reduce the gender wage gap? Proponents of this intervention believe the gap is sustained by the practice of eliciting salary histories from job applicants. Although observational studies suggest that SHB operates as envisioned, two features complicate the interpretation of its effects. These are, respectively, the passage of relevant legislation alongside SHB, and the presence of public campaigns that propel SHB into law. We assessed SHB in the United Kingdom, where neither potential confound was present, and did not find evidence that the intervention operated as intended. An intention-to-treat analysis of a 16-month field experiment, conducted with 230 staff hires at a private educational institution, indicates that SHB was about as likely to harm new hires as it was to help them. Additional analyses did not reveal significant differences between women and men. We supplement these results with an interrupted time series analysis of 3,687 placements made by a recruitment firm that voluntarily adopted SHB for its job candidates. Salaries were significantly lower under SHB, but were not significantly different for women versus men. Taken together, our results suggest that SHB was ineffective in isolation from contemporaneous legislative changes, proequality messaging, or some combination thereof.

Racial Inequality in Frictional Labor Markets: Evidence from Minimum Wages
Jesse Wursten & Michael Reich
Labour Economics, forthcoming 


We provide the first causal analysis of how state and federal minimum wage policies in the U.S. have affected labor market frictions and racial wage gaps. Using stacked event studies, binned difference-in-differences estimators, within-person analyses and classic panel methods, we find that minimum wages increased wages of black workers between 16 and 64% more than among white workers and reduced the overall black-white wage gap by 10% (and by 56% among workers most affected by the policies). Racial differences in initial wages cannot explain this differential effect. Rather, minimum wages expand job opportunities for black workers more than for white workers. We present a model with labor market frictions in which minimum wages expand the job search radius of workers who do not own automobiles and who live farther from jobs. Our causal results using the ACS show that minimum wages increase commuting via automobile among black workers but not among white workers, supporting our model. Minimum wages also reduce racial gaps in separations and hires, further suggesting the policies especially enhance job opportunities for black workers.

Gender bias in high stakes pitching: An NLP approach
Indu Khurana & Daniel Lee
Small Business Economics, February 2023, Pages 485–502


Investors use heuristics and biases which may disproportionately impact entrepreneurial teams with women when hearing pitches and evaluating early-stage ventures. However, merely entertaining a pitch is not enough -- the tone of the conversation also matters. To investigate, we explore non-rationality in the funding process by applying Natural Language Processing (NLP) to Shark Tank: a high-impact television program for entrepreneurial pitching. Using sentiment analysis, we show that male judges react more positively to pitches from entrepreneurial teams with women. Importantly, these positive reactions are not indicative of increased deal flow. The opposite is true for female judges who, while no more likely to react positively to teams with female entrepreneurs, are significantly more likely to ink a deal when they do. By showing how non-rational thinking and biases impact both the pitch narrative and the likelihood of securing funding, our findings have important implications regarding heuristic formation and gender bias in early-stage investment.

Race, academic achievement and the issue of inequitable motivational payoff
David Silverman et al.
Nature Human Behaviour, forthcoming 


As racial inequities continue to pervade school systems around the world, further research is necessary to understand the factors undergirding this pressing issue. Here across three studies conducted in the United States (N = 8,293), we provide evidence that race-based differences in student achievement do not stem from a lack of motivation among Black, Latinx and Indigenous (BLI) students, but a lack of equitable motivational payoff. Even when BLI and non-BLI students have the same levels of motivation, BLI students still receive maths grades that are an average of 9% lower than those of their non-BLI peers (95% confidence interval 7 to 11%). This pattern was not explained by differences in students’ aptitude, effort or prior achievement but was instead linked to teachers’ diminished expectations for their BLI students’ academic futures. We conclude by discussing statistical power limitations and the implications of the current findings for how researchers consider the sources of, and solutions for, educational inequity.

Who refers whom? The effects of teacher characteristics on disciplinary office referrals
Michael Hayes, Jing Liu & Seth Gershenson
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming 


Teachers affect a wide range of students’ educational and social outcomes, but how they contribute to students’ involvement in school discipline is less understood. We estimate the impact of same-race teachers and other observed teacher qualifications on students’ likelihood of receiving a disciplinary referral. Using data that track all disciplinary referrals and the identity of both the referred and referring individuals from a large and diverse urban school district in California, we find that Black students’ probability of receiving at least one referral is about 3 percentage points (26.6% of Black students’ base rate) smaller than for white students when they have a Black teacher versus a white teacher. The reduced likelihoods of receiving referrals from same-race teachers also convert to reduced likelihoods of being suspended. These results are mostly driven by referrals for violence, interpersonal offences, and walkout infractions, middle school students, and students from high-poverty schools. Students are also less likely to be referred by more experienced teachers and by teachers who hold either an English language learners or special education credential. While it is unclear whether these findings are due to variation in teachers’ effects on actual student behavior, variation in teachers’ proclivities to make disciplinary referrals, or a combination of the two, these results nonetheless suggest that teachers play a central role in the prevalence of, and inequities in, office referrals and subsequent student discipline.

The Impacts of Same and Opposite Gender Alumni Speakers on Interest in Economics
Arpita Patnaik et al.
NBER Working Paper, February 2023 


What is the impact of male and female alumni speaker interventions in introductory microeconomics courses on student interest in economics? Using student-level transcript data, we estimate the effect of speakers on future course-taking in models which use untreated lectures as control groups, including professor and semester fixed effects and student-level covariates. Alumni speakers increase intermediate economics course take-up by 2.1 percentage points (11%). Students are more responsive to same-gender speakers, with male speakers increasing men’s course take-up by 36% and female speakers increasing women’s course take-up by 40%, implying that the effect of alumni speakers is strongly gendered.

Race and nativity earnings gaps: The role of college networks
Colin Chellman, Dylan Conger & Lesley Turner
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming 


We examine the effect of same-race/same-nativity networks on the annual earnings and employment of college students using data from multiple cohorts of students entering a large public college system merged with state unemployment insurance records. We identify network effects from small changes in same-race/same-nativity shares across cohorts within college-majors. White native-born, Black native-born, and Black immigrant students who belong to cohorts with larger shares of same group peers experience higher earnings and employment in the 10 years after college entry. Benefits to Black immigrants are particularly large: a 1 standard deviation increase in the share of peers who are Black immigrants results in an approximate 2 percent increase in annual earnings. Among Hispanic immigrants, the effects of same-group peers on earnings and educational attainment are negative in the years immediately after college entry, while the effects on employment are large and positive. Hispanic native-born students do not receive earnings gains from a larger potential network.

Closing the Gap: An Analysis of Women's Representation in State Legislatures and the Gender Pay Gap
Laine Shay & Beth Rauhaus
Legislative Studies Quarterly, forthcoming 


In several US state legislatures, the number of women lawmakers has recently reached unprecedented levels. This raises the following question: what are the policy consequences associated with an increase in women legislators? While legislative scholars have uncovered that an increase in representation through women state lawmakers can result in different policy outcomes, one outcome that has not been considered is the size of the gender wage gap. In this research note, we develop the theoretical linkage that connects gender representation in state legislatures to the level of pay inequality within a state. We test our theoretical expectation with two different measures of pay inequality at the state level using panel data. Our results suggest that an increase in women state lawmakers corresponds to a smaller wage gap between men and women within the state. These findings deepen our understanding of the importance of gender representation in state legislatures.

Moral Foundations, Himpathy, and Punishment Following Organizational Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Samantha Dodson et al.
Organization Science, forthcoming 


We build on deontic justice and moral foundations theories to shed light on responses to sexual misconduct at work by proposing a model that explains why some third parties punish accusing victims and support alleged perpetrators. We theorize that when third parties are given conflicting he-said, she-said information, they intuitively evaluate organizational injustice based on moral values. We further theorize that binding moral foundations (loyalty, authority, purity) give rise to sympathy toward men accused of sexual misconduct and anger toward female accusers. Across five studies (total n = 5,413) utilizing archival, field, and vignette designs, we examined third-party responses to sexual misconduct accusations ranging in severity across several industries. Third-party endorsement of binding moral foundations was linked to increased perpetrator-directed sympathy and victim-directed anger (Studies 1–4). These emotions jointly mediated the relationship between binding values and credibility perceptions of the accusing victim and the alleged perpetrator (Studies 2 and 3). Moreover, victim credibility was negatively associated with social sanctions and punishment severity levied toward the accusing victim, and perpetrator credibility was negatively associated with the same punishment outcomes for the alleged perpetrator (Studies 3 and 4). In Study 5, we found that managers framing the accusing victim as disloyal exacerbated negative judgments and emotions toward the victim and positive judgments and emotions toward the perpetrator for individuals who highly ascribe to binding moral foundations. We discuss the theoretical contributions and practical implications of moral concerns on third parties’ emotions, judgments, and motivations to punish actors involved in sexual misconduct allegations.


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