Kevin Lewis

January 16, 2020

Does an attractive partner make you a better leader? Only if you are a male!
Ipek Kocoglu & Murad Mithani
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming


We integrate the research on evolutionary leadership with the evolutionary psychology of mate choice to argue that a facially attractive partner signals unobservable leadership qualities of their mate, and thus, partner's attractiveness spills over to their mate's perceived leadership. Study 1 found that while partner's attractiveness enhanced the perceived leadership of male CEOs, female CEOs' leadership was downgraded in the presence of an attractive partner. Study 2 validated that the leadership penalty for female CEOs increased when they were seen with more attractive males than with less attractive males. Study 3 found that conservative candidates that were male benefitted more from an attractive partner than their liberal counterparts but female candidates were penalized regardless of political ideology. Our findings suggest that indirect cues that emanate from the partner are critical for leadership assessment. They invoke attributions that enhance the perceived leadership of males but disapprove of females as leaders.

Age Discrimination in Hiring: Evidence from Age-Blind vs. Non-Age-Blind Hiring Procedures
David Neumark
NBER Working Paper, January 2020


I study age discrimination in hiring, exploiting a difference between age-revealed and partially age-blind hiring procedures. Under the first hiring procedure, age is revealed simultaneously with other applicant information and job offer rates are much lower for older than for younger job applicants. Under the second hiring procedure, interview selections are based on detailed, age-blind on-line applications, while subsequent interviews are not age-blind. Older applicants are not under-selected for interviews, but after in-person interviews when age is revealed, older applicants still face a much lower job offer rate. This evidence is strongly consistent with age discrimination in hiring.

Deleting a Signal: Evidence from Pre-Employment Credit Checks
Alexander Bartik & Scott Nelson
University of Chicago Working Paper, December 2019


We study the removal of information that favors one group over another. Empirically, we focus on banning the use of credit reports to screen job applicants, a practice alleged to disadvantage minority groups with poorer average credit. We estimate these bans decrease job-finding rates for blacks by 3 percentage points and increase involuntary separations for black new hires by 4 percentage points. Theoretically, we show the incidence of removing information depends on the information’s relative precision, not necessarily group averages. We estimate credit checks benefit black job seekers because other screening tools, such as interviews, are noisier signals for blacks.

A Leader Doesn’t Sound Lesbian!: The Impact of Sexual Orientation Vocal Cues on Heterosexual Persons’ First Impression and Hiring Decision
Fabio Fasoli & Peter Hegarty
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming


In three studies (N = 340), we tested whether vocal cues to a person’s sexual orientation prompted sexual orientation discrimination in heterosexual individuals when hiring leaders. Our results inform how gender and sexual orientation intersect to produce discriminatory effects in the hiring context. Heterosexual participants listened to short clips of voices that sounded like job candidate was a lesbian or heterosexual woman, or a gay or heterosexual man, and rated all for job suitability and employability. Candidates applied for jobs as leaders (Study 1), as leaders or assistants (Study 2), and for leadership roles that varied in both gender role and status (Study 3). Sexual orientation discrimination occurred in all three studies and was greater among women job candidates. Refuting role congruity theory, several findings disconfirmed the prediction that lesbian-sounding women would be advantaged when stereotyped as masculine and when applying for leadership roles. Rather, in line with status-beliefs theory, lesbian-sounding women and gay-sounding men were rated and ranked poorly to the extent that they were perceived as less competent than heterosexual candidates. Findings suggest that hiring discrimination occurs in subtle ways, such as when individuals sound gay/lesbian. This has implications for recruitment as well as sexual-orientation discrimination court cases.

The New Place of Corporate Law Firms in the Structuring of Elite Legal Careers
Ronit Dinovitzer & Bryant Garth
Law & Social Inquiry, forthcoming


For more than a century, a partnership position in a large corporate law firm has almost universally been held out as the singular mark of success for those with a law degree. We find that despite significant transformations in the profession, including dramatic expansion in size and the opening of corporate law positions to women, minorities, and the graduates of lower-ranked schools, the powerful and prestigious positions of corporate law partners remain largely reserved for those with the most elite credentials and other characteristics — male, white, wife at home — that defined law firm partners before the great period of change. By examining the continuity and change in the sorting of legal elites, we find evidence that the experience of a position in a corporate law firm now bestows advantages even for those who do not make partner. What was once deemed a failure — not making partner — is now a source of valued capital that leads to careers in in-house positions, boutique firms, the federal government, and a host of nonequity partner positions. We draw on thirteen years of lawyers’ career histories from the After the JD study, using the techniques of sequence analysis and qualitative interviews.

The Effects of Social Movements: Evidence from #MeToo
Roee Levy & Martin Mattsson
Yale Working Paper, December 2019


Social movements are associated with large changes in norms and behavior, but evidence on their causal effects is limited. We study the effect of the MeToo movement on a high stakes personal decision — reporting a sexual crime to the police. We construct a new dataset of sexual and non-sexual crimes in 24 OECD countries, covering 81 percent of the OECD population. We analyze the effect of the MeToo movement by employing a triple difference strategy over time, across countries, and between crime types. We find that the movement increased reporting of sexual crimes by 14 percent during its first three months. While the effect slightly declines over time, the movement had a strong effect even 15 months after it started. We use more detailed US data to show that despite the increase in crimes reported, the movement did not increase the number of sexual crimes cleared by the police. In contrast to a common criticism of the movement, we do not find evidence for substantial differences in the effect across racial and socioeconomic groups. Our results suggest that social movements can rapidly change high stakes personal decisions.

To File or Not to File? How EEOC Claims Change with the Economy
Rusty Juban & Lara Gardner
Labor Studies Journal, forthcoming


Discrimination and sexual harassment are pervasive problems in today’s organizations. Traditionally, individual variables such as justice and power are used to study an employee’s response to discrimination or sexual harassment. In this study, we propose the use of economic variables (unemployment and economic health) to explain when an individual is more likely to make a discrimination or sexual harassment charge. Using monthly data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on discrimination charges, we find there is strong evidence that U.S. economic conditions play an important role in the number and types of complaints filed.

A threat in the network: STEM women in less powerful network positions avoid integrating stereotypically feminine peers
Hilary Bergsieker et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming


Integrating social identity threat and structural hole theories, this work examines how social network positions affect group-based identity threats. For individuals less well positioned to bridge (or “broker”) relations between unconnected friends, stigma-by-association concerns may constrain affiliation with stereotypic targets. Three experiments (Ns = 280, 232, 553) test whether women (vs. men) in male-dominated STEM (vs. female-dominated) majors avoid befriending a female target with feminine-stereotypic (vs. STEM-stereotypic) interests. Only STEM women with less brokerage (i.e., less ability to manage introductions to unconnected friends) in their existing friendship networks avoided befriending (pilot experiment) and socially integrating (Experiments 1 and 2) feminine- (vs. STEM-) stereotypic targets, despite standardized target similarity and competence. STEM women in particular anticipated steeper reputational penalties for befriending stereotypically feminine peers (Experiment 2). Social identity threat may lead women in STEM — especially those lacking brokerage — to exclude stereotypically feminine women from social networks, reinforcing stereotypes of women and STEM fields.

Teacher-Child Racial/Ethnic Match and Parental Engagement With Head Start
Anna Markowitz, Daphna Bassok & Jason Grissom
American Educational Research Journal, forthcoming


Parental engagement is central to Head Start’s two-generation mission. Drawing on research linking teacher-child racial/ethnic match to educational outcomes, the present study explores whether teacher-child match increases parental involvement in Head Start activities designed to support children and families. Using data from the 2006 and 2009 waves of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey, we estimate the relationship between teacher-child racial/ethnic match and parental involvement both across and within Head Start centers. Findings suggest that match enhances parental engagement and decreases student absences, particularly among Hispanic families, suggesting that family engagement may be one potential mechanism by which racial/ethnic match improves educational outcomes. Findings also have implications for policies that reduce the diversity of the Head Start workforce.

I knew you'd understand: How gendered expectations of understanding affect stress
Maddie Straup et al.
Personal Relationships, December 2019, Pages 544-565


An experimental design was used to examine the effects of interviewer gender and (mis)understanding on physiological stress (i.e., cortisol). A total of 103 undergraduate students wrote about a recent social conflict and then discussed that conflict with either a male or a female interviewer. During these discussions, the interviewer displayed verbal and nonverbal cues of (mis)understanding toward the participants. Participants' cortisol was assessed four times throughout the study. Results from a 2 × 2 × 4 mixed‐model analysis of variance demonstrated an interaction between the gender of the interviewer, understanding condition, and time such that cortisol decreased the most over time when the interviewer used cues of understanding that matched stereotypical expectations for the interviewers' gender (i.e., when women were understanding and men were misunderstanding).


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