Kevin Lewis

February 18, 2021

Equality for (almost) all: Egalitarian advocacy predicts lower endorsement of sexism and racism, but not ageism
Ashley Martin & Michael North
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming


Past research has assumed that social egalitarians reject group-based hierarchies and advocate for equal treatment of all groups. However, contrary to popular belief, we argue that egalitarian advocacy predicts greater likelihood to support "Succession"-based ageism, which prescribes that older adults step aside to free up coveted opportunities (e.g., by retiring). Although facing their own forms of discrimination, older individuals are perceived as blocking younger people, and other unrepresented groups, from opportunities - that in turn, motivates egalitarian advocates to actively discriminate against older adults. In 9 separate studies (N = 3,277), we demonstrate that egalitarian advocates endorse less prejudice toward, and show more support for, women and racial minorities, but harbor more prejudice toward (Studies 1 and 2), and show less advocacy for (Studies 3-6), older individuals. We demonstrate downstream consequences of this effect, such as support for, and resource allocation to, diversity initiatives (Studies 3-6). Further, we isolate perceived opportunity blocking as a critical mediator, demonstrating that egalitarian advocates believe that older individuals actively obstruct more deserving groups from receiving necessary resources and support to get ahead (Studies 4-6). Finally, we explore the intersectional nature of this effect (Study 7). Together this research suggests that when it comes to egalitarianism, equality for all may only mean equality for some.

From Help to Harm: Increases in Status, Perceived Underreciprocation, and the Consequences for Access to Strategic Help and Social Undermining Among Female, Racial Minority, and White Male Top Managers
Gareth Keeves & James Westphal
Organization Science, forthcoming


This paper explores how social psychological biases impede the social exchange relations of executives who ascend to high-status corporate leadership positions. We theorize that a combination of self-serving attribution biases among executives who gain status and egocentric biases of their prior benefactors cause a systematic difference in perceptions about the relative importance of that help to the beneficiary's success. This leads to the perception among prior benefactors that the high-status executives have not adequately reciprocated their help. We then extend this argument to explain why perceptions of underreciprocation are heightened when the high-status executive is a racial minority or a woman but reduced when the prior benefactor is a racial minority or a woman. The final element of our theoretical framework examines the social consequences of perceived underreciprocation for corporate leaders. We suggest that the high-status leaders' access to strategic help is reduced, and they may become the target of social undermining that can damage their broader reputation. The findings support our social psychological perspective on social exchange in corporate leadership, revealing how and why executives who have ascended to high-status positions not only may encounter difficulty obtaining assistance from fellow leaders but also may experience adverse reversals in their social exchange ties such that managers who previously aided them engage in socially harmful behavior toward them.

The Impact of Mandated Maternity Leave Policies on the Gender Gap in Promotions: Examining the Role of Employer-Based Discrimination
Mallika Thomas
Cornell Working Paper, June 2020


This paper examines how mandated maternity leave policies impact the gender gap in promotions. I present a model of the gender gap in promotions where firms must choose whether to invest in the training of their employees, but they are uncertain about their employees' future choice of hours of work. If women are more likely than men to reduce their hours of work during childrearing years, firms will invest less in women early in their careers, leading to a gender gap in promotions. In the presence of asymmetric information about workers' future preferences, mandated maternity leave policies can exacerbate this gap. Using the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I test the predictions of the model in the context of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). Women hired after the enactment of the FMLA are three percentage points more likely to remain employed but eight percentage points less likely to be promoted than those who were hired before the FMLA. Furthermore, I find evidence suggesting that information asymmetry, in addition to selection, is driving the increase in the gender gap in promotions.

COVID-19 Disruptions Disproportionately Affect Female Academics
Tatyana Deryugina, Olga Shurchkov & Jenna Stearns
NBER Working Paper, January 2021


The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent countermeasures, such as school closures, the shift to working from home, and social distancing are disrupting economic activity around the world. As with other major economic shocks, there are winners and losers, leading to increased inequality across certain groups. In this project, we investigate the effects of COVID-19 disruptions on the gender gap in academia. We administer a global survey to a broad range of academics across various disciplines to collect nuanced data on the respondents' circumstances, such as a spouse's employment, the number and ages of children, and time use. We find that female academics, particularly those who have children, report a disproportionate reduction in time dedicated to research relative to what comparable men and women without children experience. Both men and women report substantial increases in childcare and housework burdens, but women experienced significantly larger increases than men did.

Narrow prototypes and neglected victims: Understanding perceptions of sexual harassment
Jin Goh et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming


Sexual harassment is pervasive and has adverse effects on its victims, yet perceiving sexual harassment is wrought with ambiguity, making harassment difficult to identify and understand. Eleven preregistered, multimethod experiments (total N = 4,065 participants) investigated the nature of perceiving sexual harassment by testing whether perceptions of sexual harassment and its impact are facilitated when harassing behaviors target those who fit with the prototype of women (e.g., those who have feminine features, interests, and characteristics) relative to those who fit less well with this prototype. Studies A1-A5 demonstrate that participants' mental representation of sexual harassment targets overlapped with the prototypes of women as assessed through participant-generated drawings, face selection tasks, reverse correlation, and self-report measures. In Studies B1-B4, participants were less likely to label incidents as sexual harassment when they targeted nonprototypical women compared with prototypical women. In Studies C1 and C2, participants perceived sexual harassment claims to be less credible and the harassment itself to be less psychologically harmful when the victims were nonprototypical women rather than prototypical women. This research offers theoretical and methodological advances to the study of sexual harassment through social cognition and prototypicality perspectives, and it has implications for harassment reporting and litigation as well as the realization of fundamental civil rights.

Increasing Workplace Diversity: Evidence from a Recruiting Experiment at a Fortune 500 Company
Jeffrey Flory et al.
Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2021, Pages 73-92


While many firms have set ambitious goals to increase diversity in their ranks, there is a dearth of empirical evidence on effective ways to reach them. We use a natural field experiment to test several hypotheses on effective means to attract minority candidates for top professional careers. By randomly varying the content in recruiting materials of a major financial services corporation with more than 10,000 employees, we find that signaling explicit interest in employee diversity more than doubles the interest in openings among racial minority candidates, as well as the likelihood that they apply and are selected. Impacts on gender diversity are less sharp and generally not significant.

Difference-Education Improves First-Generation Students' Grades Throughout College and Increases Comfort With Social Group Difference
Sarah Townsend, Nicole Stephens & MarYam Hamedani
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming


Difference-education interventions teach people a contextual theory of difference: that social group difference comes from participating in and adapting to diverse sociocultural contexts. At two universities, we delivered difference-education interventions during the college transition and examined long-term academic and intergroup outcomes. Nearly 4 years later, first-generation students who received a difference-education intervention earned higher grades and were more likely to attain honors standing than those in the control condition. Based on an end-of-college survey with students at one of the two universities, both first-generation and continuing-generation students showed greater comfort with social group difference compared with students in the control condition. Our results demonstrate for the first time that teaching first-generation students a contextual theory of difference can lead to long-term academic benefits that persist until graduation. This work also provides new evidence that difference-education can improve comfort with social group difference.

Scandal, Social Movement, and Change: Evidence from #MeToo in Hollywood
Hong Luo & Laurina Zhang
Management Science, forthcoming


Social movements have the potential to effect change in strategic decision making. In this paper, we examine whether the #MeToo movement, spurred by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, leads to changes in the likelihood of Hollywood producers working with female writers on new movie projects. Since #MeToo affected the entire industry, we use variation in whether producers had past collaborations with Weinstein to investigate whether and how #MeToo may spur change. We find that producers previously associated with Weinstein are, on average, about 35-percent more likely to work with female writers after the scandal than they were before, relative to non-associated producers; and the size of this effect increases with the intensity of the association. Female producers are the main drivers of our results, perhaps because they are more likely than male producers to resonate with the movement's cause and face relatively low costs of enacting change. Changes made by other groups, such as production teams with the most intense association with Weinstein and less-experienced all-male teams, may be better explained by motivations to mitigate risk. We also find that producers do not sacrifice writer experience by hiring more female writers and that both experienced and novice female writers have benefited from the increased demand. Our study shows that social movements that seek to address gender inequality can, indeed, lead to meaningful change. It also provides perspective for thinking about whether, and to what extent, changes may occur in broader settings.

The dynamics of gender and alternatives in negotiation
Jennifer Dannals et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming


A substantial body of prior research documents a gender gap in negotiation performance. Competing accounts suggest that the gap is due either to women's stereotype-congruent behavior in negotiations or to backlash enacted toward women for stereotype-incongruent behavior. In this article, we use a novel data set of over 2,500 individual negotiators to examine how negotiation performance varies as a function of gender and the strength of one's alternative to a negotiated agreement. We find that the gender gap in negotiation outcomes exists only when female negotiators have a strong outside option. Furthermore, our large data set allows us to examine an understudied performance outcome, rate of impasse. We find that negotiations in which at least one negotiator is a woman with a strong alternative disproportionately end in impasse, a performance outcome that leaves considerable potential value unallocated. In addition, we find that these gender differences in negotiation performance are not due to gender differences in aspirations, reservation values, or first offers. Overall, these findings are consistent with a backlash account, whereby counterparts are less likely to come to an agreement and therefore reach a potentially worse outcome when one party is a female negotiator empowered by a strong alternative.

Informed Choices: Gender Gaps in Career Advice
Yana Gallen & Melanie Wasserman
University of Chicago Working Paper, January 2021


This paper estimates gender differences in access to informal information regarding the labor market. We conduct a large-scale field experiment in which real college students seek information from 10,000 working professionals about various career paths, and we randomize whether a professional receives a message from a male or a female student. We focus the experimental design and analysis on two career attributes that prior research has shown to differentially affect the labor market choices of women: the extent to which a career accommodates work/life balance and has a competitive culture. When students ask broadly for information about a career, we find that female students receive substantially more information on work/life balance relative to male students. This gender difference persists when students disclose that they are concerned about work/life balance. In contrast, professionals mention workplace culture to male and female students at similar rates. After the study, female students are more dissuaded from their preferred career path than male students, and this difference is in part explained by professionals' greater emphasis on work/life balance when responding to female students. Finally, we elicit students' preferences for professionals and find that gender differences in information provision would remain if students contacted their most preferred professionals.

It's a man's world! the role of political ideology in the early stages of leader recruitment
Burak Oc, Ekaterina Netchaeva & Maryam Kouchaki
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2021, Pages 24-41


Previous research has demonstrated the impact of political ideology on a wide variety of psychological and behavioral processes. Contributing to this research, we examine the effect of organizational decision makers' political ideology and job candidates' gender on how the decision makers communicate information about leadership positions to the candidate. In five studies, we demonstrate that decision makers who are more conservative exhibit gender bias by providing a female (versus male) candidate with a less positive description of a leadership position, an effect driven by the decision makers' felt anxiety. We further show that making information on women's success in leadership positions salient diminishes the effect of political ideology insofar as both more and less conservative decision makers will exhibit similar levels of positivity when communicating with a prospective female candidate. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.

Gender Quotas and Support for Women in Board Elections
Marina Gertsberg, Johanna Mollerstrom & Michaela Pagel
NBER Working Paper, February 2021


We study shareholder support for corporate board nominees in the context of the California gender quota, which was passed in 2018. Using hand-collected data for approximately 600 firms, we show that, prior to the quota, female nominees received greater shareholder support than their male counterparts. This is consistent with a pre-quota environment in which female board nominees were held to a higher standard than male nominees. Second, we show that incumbent female directors in the post-quota environment receive greater support than incumbent men, while support for new (mandated) female nominees decreases to the level of support for new male nominees. This indicates that the quota led to a conversion in the bar for men and women to become board nominees, and that it did not lead to new female board nominees being of lower quality than male nominees. We likewise challenge the notion that the negative stock price reaction to the quota reflects value destruction due to an insufficient supply of female directors. Instead, we provide evidence that dysfunctional board dynamics are driving the reaction, in the sense that stock prices reacted negatively to entrenched boards who failed to turn over the least supported directors when adjusting their boards to comply with the new law.

Do Students Discriminate? Exploring Differentials by Race and Sex in Class Enrollments and Student Ratings of Instructors
Robert Moore, Hanna Song & James Whitney
Eastern Economic Journal, January 2021, Pages 135-162


This paper explores differentials in student ratings of instructors (SRIs) by both race (white and nonwhite) and sex (male and female), taking into account not only the race and sex of class instructors but also the race-sex percentage composition of their enrolled students. Our dataset is by far the largest in the literature to date and includes all course evaluations over Academic Years 2006-2012 at Occidental College, a selective liberal arts institution with relatively high levels of diversity by race and sex of both students and faculty. We examine the data with multilevel mixed-effects linear and ordered probit regression specifications that include an extensive set of non-demographic control variables. Our findings include evidence that is consistent with the existence of bias on the part of white students.

Dealing with new members: Team members' reactions to newcomer's attractiveness and sex
Sung Won Min et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming


We examine how team members respond to the inclusion of new members' physical attractiveness and sex. Drawing on Social Exchange Theory, we argue and show that incumbent team members engage in three behaviors (mimicry, ingratiation, and challenging) in response to the inclusion of more or less attractive male or female members in their team. Using a multilevel experimental design, we show that existing team members mimic newcomers who are higher on physical attractiveness and that the effect is more pronounced when there is a sex match (i.e., existing males mimic new males more). Furthermore, they ingratiate toward the physically attractive newcomers who are also committed to the task. In addition, we find that existing team members challenge physically attractive females who are committed to the task. Our findings suggest that the basic combinations of primary cues of newcomers' characteristics affect intrateam behaviors and produce different outcomes across sexes for attractiveness. By shifting the attention to the effect that newcomers have on team behaviors, the study provides novel insights for scholars that help move the discussion of team membership changes beyond the traditional accounts of new member socialization and team effectiveness.

Do Looks Matter for an Academic Career in Economics?
Galina Hale, Tali Regev & Yona Rubinstein
University of California Working Paper, February 2021


We document appearance effects in the economics profession. Using unique data on PhD graduates from top economics departments in the United States we test whether more attractive individuals are more likely to succeed. We find robust evidence that appearance matters for job outcomes. Attractive individuals are more likely to study at higher ranked PhD institutions, are more likely to find themselves in private sector jobs than in government jobs or in academia. Within academia, attractive PhD graduates are more likely to be placed at higher ranking institutions. More surprisingly, appearance also predicts research productivity on the job. Papers written by attractive individuals are cited more often. All these effects are not only statistically significant but are also substantial in magnitude.

The Gender-Race Intersection and the 'Sheltering-Effect' of Public-Sector Employment
Hadas Mandel & Moshe Semyonov
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, February 2021


Seeking to understand the role played by labor market structure in affecting economic inequality, we examine the extent to which the public sector, as compared to the private sector, differentially employs and rewards women, Blacks and subgroups classified by race and gender (e.g., Black women, Black men). Analyzing data from the American Community Survey (2014-2015), we find that public-sector employment is more attractive for Blacks than for women; Blacks' odds of becoming public-sector employees are much higher than those of Whites, regardless of gender. No evidence was found for the argument that gender interacts with race in affecting the tendency to work in the public sector. As for wages, despite recent trends pointing to a decline in the advantages of the public sector for Blacks, it is still found to be more protective of Blacks, men and women alike. The meaning of the findings and their implications are discussed in light of structural barriers of gender and race inequality.


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