Getting Diversity

Kevin Lewis

December 16, 2021

A social network perspective on the bamboo ceiling: Ethnic homophily explains why East Asians but not South Asians are underrepresented in leadership in multiethnic environments
Jackson Lu
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

In the United States, Asians appear disproportionately underrepresented in leadership roles, a puzzling phenomenon known as the “Bamboo Ceiling” (Hyun, 2005; Lu et al., 2020). We advance a social network explanation for this phenomenon: ethnic homophily. We theorize that East Asians (e.g., ethnic Chinese) — but not South Asians (e.g., ethnic Indians) — are less likely than other ethnicities to emerge as leaders in multiethnic environments partly because East Asians socialize more with ethnic ingroup members (other East Asians). Analyzing a survey of 54,620 Juris Doctor (JD) students from 124 U.S. law schools, Study 1 revealed that East Asians had the highest ethnic homophily of all ethnicities. Studies 2 and 3 examined friendship networks and leadership emergence in 11 class sections of new Master of Business Administration (MBA) students in a U.S. business school, and found that East Asians were the least likely to be nominated and elected as leaders. Social network analysis revealed that, compared to South Asians, Latinos, and Whites, East Asians exhibited higher ethnic homophily, which mediated their lower leadership emergence. These effects occurred for both East Asian internationals and East Asian Americans, and were robust after accounting for variables such as assertiveness (parallel mediator), network centrality, English proficiency, demographics, and personality. By integrating social network analysis into psychology, we identify ethnic homophily as one reason why the Bamboo Ceiling exists for East Asians but not South Asians. Moreover, by uncovering the negative link between ethnic homophily and leadership emergence, our research suggests that bonding with people from different ethnic backgrounds can facilitate individuals’ leadership emergence in multiethnic environments. 

Gifted & Talented Programs and Racial Segregation
Owen Thompson
NBER Working Paper, December 2021

Racial segregation can occur across educational programs or classrooms within a given school, and there has been particular concern that gifted & talented programs may reduce integration within schools. This paper evaluates the contribution of gifted & talented education to racial segregation using data on the presence and racial composition of gifted & talented programs at virtually all US elementary schools over a span of nine school years. I first show that, consistent with widespread perceptions, gifted & talented programs do disproportionately enroll white and Asian students while Black, Hispanic and Native American students are underrepresented. However, I also show that accounting for the within-school racial sorting caused by these programs has little or no effect on standard measures of overall racial segregation. This is primarily because gifted & talented programs are a small share of total enrollments and do enroll non-negligible numbers of under-represented minority students. I also estimate changes in race-specific enrollments after schools initiate or discontinue gifted & talented programs, and find no significant enrollment changes after programs are eliminated or initiated. I conclude that gifted & talented education is a quantitatively small contributor to racial segregation in US elementary schools. 

Social class background, disjoint agency, and hiring decisions
Daron Sharps & Cameron Anderson
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2021, Pages 129-143

To promote upward mobility for the working-class, much effort has focused on making higher education more widely accessible. However, upward mobility is also powerfully determined by processes that occur after college, when individuals launch their work careers. In the current study, college students who were about to enter the labor market completed mock job interviews while being videotaped. Supporting cultural mismatch theory (Stephens, Townsend, et al., 2012), participants from working-class backgrounds displayed less disjoint agentic behavior during their interviews (e.g., less assertive behavior). This led observers to evaluate them as less intelligent and socio-emotionally skilled, and led professional hiring managers to view them as less worthy of hire – even though working-class individuals were as intelligent and more socio-emotionally skilled than their upper-class counterparts (Study 1). However, when hiring managers were told to place more value on cooperation and teamwork rather than competition and individualism, individuals who displayed low disjoint agency did not face the same bias (Study 2). This suggests that the bias against individuals from working-class backgrounds observed in Study 1 can be mitigated. 

Going Along to Get Ahead: The Asymmetric Effects of Sexist Joviality on Status Conferral
Natalya Alonso & Olivia (Mandy) O’Neill
Organization Science, forthcoming

Social status is highly consequential in organizations but remains elusive for many professional women. Status characteristics theory argues that women are particularly status disadvantaged in masculine organizational cultures. These types of cultures valorize traits and abilities stereotypically associated with men, making it difficult for women in these settings to be seen as skilled and gain status. In the present study, we build and test novel theory explaining when and why masculine organizational cultures create the conditions for some women — those willing and able to skillfully navigate the espoused norms — to disproportionately gain status. We introduce and define the construct of a sexist culture of joviality, a type of masculine organizational culture representing the intersection of sexism and joviality that emerged inductively from our initial qualitative data. A sexist culture of joviality is characterized by norms promoting frequent sexist joking and teasing, along with underlying values and assumptions that support these sexist jovial behaviors. In a longitudinal mixed-methods field study, we demonstrate that participation in a sexist culture of joviality via engagement in sexist jovial norms is positively related to status for women but negatively related to status for men. In a follow-up experiment, we replicate this effect and demonstrate that differential perceptions of social skill mediate this interaction. Our findings illuminate the subtle ways sexism is perpetuated in organizations despite changing societal norms, underscoring the importance of disrupting these dynamics and revealing insights into how to do so. 

Female Physicians Earn An Estimated $2 Million Less Than Male Physicians Over A Simulated 40-Year Career
Christopher Whaley et al.
Health Affairs, December 2021, Pages 1856-1864

Differences in income between male and female academic physicians are well known, but differences for community physicians and career differences in income have not been quantified. We used earnings data from 80,342 full-time US physicians to estimate career differences in income between men and women. The differences in annual income between male and female physicians that we observed in our simulations increased most rapidly during the initial years of practice. Over the course of a simulated forty-year career, male physicians earned an average adjusted gross income of $8,307,327 compared with an average of $6,263,446 for female physicians—an absolute adjusted difference of $2,043,881 and relative difference of 24.6 percent. Gender differences in career earnings were largest for surgical specialists ($2.5 million difference), followed by nonsurgical specialists ($1.6 million difference) and primary care physicians ($0.9 million difference). These findings imply that over the course of a career, female US physicians were estimated to earn, on average, more than $2 million less than male US physicians after adjustment for factors that may otherwise explain observed differences in income, such as hours worked, clinical revenue, practice type, and specialty. 

Convergence Over Time or Not? U.S. Wages by Sexual Orientation, 2000-2019
Christopher Jepsen & Lisa Jepsen
Labour Economics, forthcoming

An extensive literature on labor-market outcomes by sexual orientation finds lower wages for men in same-sex couples and higher wages for women in same-sex couples compared to their counterparts in different-sex couples. Previous studies analyzing multiple time periods provide suggestive evidence that the wage penalty for men in same-sex couples is heading toward zero. Using data from the American Community Survey on individuals in couples from 2000 to 2019, we find no evidence that wages, earnings, or incomes of men in same-sex couples are improving relative to married men in different-sex couples. For women in same-sex couples, we see mixed evidence of convergence relative to married women in different-sex couples. The persistence of a wage penalty for men in same-sex couples is concerning in the face of anti-discrimination policies and rising overall tolerance by Americans with respect to sexual orientation. 

Facial Appearance Dissatisfaction Explains Differences in Zoom Fatigue
Rabindra Ratan, Dave Miller & Jeremy Bailenson
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, forthcoming

Viewing self-video during videoconferences potentially causes negative self-focused attention that contributes to virtual meeting (VM) or “Zoom” fatigue. The present research examines this proposition, focusing on facial dissatisfaction — feeling unhappy about one's own facial appearance — as a potential psychological mechanism of VM fatigue. A study of survey responses from a panel of 613 adults found that VM fatigue was 14.9 percent higher for women than for men, and 11.1 percent higher for Asian than for White participants. These gender and race/ethnicity differences were found to be mediated by facial dissatisfaction. This study replicates earlier VM fatigue research, extends the theoretical understanding of facial dissatisfaction as a psychological mechanism of VM fatigue, and suggests that practical approaches to mitigating VM fatigue could include implementing technological features that reduce self-focused attention during VMs (e.g., employing avatars). 

Gender representation cues labels of hard and soft sciences
Alysson Light, Tessa Benson-Greenwald & Amanda Diekman
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

While women's representation in STEM fields has increased over the past several decades, some fields have seen a greater increase women's participation than others. In the present research, we explore how women's participation in STEM disciplines influences labeling of those disciplines as hard vs. soft sciences. Study 1 found that increasing perceived participation of women in a STEM discipline increased the likelihood that participants would label it a soft science. Study 2 found that among people who did not work in science, this tendency to associate women's participation with soft science was correlated with endorsement of stereotypes about women's STEM competency. And Studies 3A and 3B showed that labeling disciplines as soft sciences led to the fields being devalued, deemed less rigorous, and less worthy of federal funding. These studies show that stereotypes about women's STEM competency can impact perceptions of fields in which women participate, with consequences for how scientific disciplines are perceived. 

Competitive Loss, Gendered Backlash and Sexism in Politics
Jordan Mansell et al.
Political Behavior, forthcoming 

Politics is often seen as a zero-sum game, so understanding how competition affects political behavior is a fruitful, yet underexplored area of study. Reactions to competition are known to be gendered, as women are significantly more aware of and averse to the potential negative effects of competition — risk and loss — than are men. Participants (n = 1296) completed an experiment involving a non-political competitive task, where they were randomly assigned to receive a negative cue about their individual or gendered group's poor performance. Following this, we assessed their levels of political ambition, efficacy, interest, and sexism. We hypothesize that: (1) negative performance feedback on a competitive task will decrease political ambition, efficacy, and interest among women; and (2) men who receive negative feedback about their performance relative to women will report higher levels of sexism. We use a non-binary measure of masculinity/femininity that helps explain how gender identity affects these outcomes. Evidence does not support the conclusion that negative feedback about competition contributes to women’s lower levels of psychological engagement with politics. However, results show that negative performance feedback, particularly when it is relative to women, increases sexism in men. Furthermore, the effect of negative feedback on sexism is larger when men identify more strongly as masculine. We argue that threatening men’s relative performance partly explains larger trends of backlash against women in politics. 

School Discipline and Racial Disparities in Early Adulthood
Miles Davison et al.
Educational Researcher, forthcoming

Despite interest in the contributions of school discipline to the creation of racial inequality, previous research has been unable to identify how students who receive suspensions in school differ from unsuspended classmates on key young adult outcomes. We utilize novel data to document the links between high school discipline and important young adult outcomes related to criminal justice contact, social safety net program participation, postsecondary education, and the labor market. We show that the link between school discipline and young adult outcomes tends to be stronger for Black students than for White students, and that approximately 30% of the Black–White disparities in young adult criminal justice outcomes, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) receipt, and college completion can be traced back to inequalities in exposure to school discipline. 

Gender Inequality in STEM Employment and Earnings at Career Entry: Evidence from Millennial Birth Cohorts
Tom VanHeuvelen & Natasha Quadlin
Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, December 2021

Although science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors remain male dominated, women’s greater enrollment in STEM is one of the greatest transformations to occur in U.S. higher education in the past half century. But to what extent have women’s gains in STEM enrollment translated to greater parity in labor market outcomes? Although the challenges women face in STEM have been well documented, questions about the influence of gender for STEM employment and earnings differences remain. In the present research, the authors use data from recent birth cohorts in the American Community Survey between 2009 and 2018 (starting with the first year college majors were available in the survey) and a reweighting technique from labor economics to track the evolution of gender inequalities in STEM employment and earnings inequality among STEM work at the onset of labor market entry. Even among a sample expected to produce highly conservative gender differences, sizable gender inequalities in STEM employment are observed. The authors show that despite women’s gains in STEM education among recent cohorts, women with STEM degrees face employment prospects in STEM work that more closely resemble those of men without STEM degrees than men with STEM degrees. Moreover, although modest gender earnings gaps eventually emerge for those without STEM degrees, large gaps occur at the outset of employment for STEM workers. Thus, although STEM education provides important opportunities for women’s earning potential, it may be less effective in itself to address significant gender inequalities among STEM employment. 

A gender gap in managerial span of control: Implications for the gender pay gap
Margaret Lee & Laura Kray
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2021, Pages 1-17

In the current work, we examine a possible source of gender disparities in pay even when women manage to reach similar levels of the organizational ladder as men. We refer to the concept of “span of control,” or the number of subordinates a leader oversees, and propose that in addition to differences in how high men and women climb up the organizational hierarchy, differences in managers’ span of control can also contribute to the gender pay gap. We suggest that people hold gender stereotypes about managers’ relational model tendencies, or how men and women interact with people they manage, and these stereotypes correspond with people’s lay beliefs about relational models utilized in small and large spans of control: smaller groups are thought to operate based more on communal sharing principles while larger groups are thought to operate based more on authority ranking principles. Because span of control affects compensation, a gender difference in span of control can contribute to gender differences in pay. We found support for these hypotheses in an archival dataset of MBA alumni (N = 1838) and three additional experiments (N = 799). 

Media Focus and Executive Turnover: Consequences for Female Leadership
Valeria Ferraro
Boston College Working Paper, October 2021

I study whether the tendency of news media to focus on negative events affects executive turnover in publicly listed firms in the U.S., and to what extent negative media focus explains the higher incidence of turnover for women in top executive roles. Linking CEO positions to firm-level news, I provide evidence that the negative focus is higher when a company is led by a woman or an outsider CEO, and that negative news are highly predictive of executive turnover. From the standpoint of a rational board, negative media focus may decrease the expected benefit of retaining a CEO, thus increasing the chances of replacement. Counterfactual simulations from a model of executive turnover with event-dependent media focus show that the higher negative focus explains around 15% of the differential turnover rate in female-led firms, even when women are as effective at managing the firm as their male counterparts. 

Employment Discrimination Charge Rates: Variation and Sources
Donald Tomaskovic-Devey & Carly McCann
Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, December 2021

The authors document variation in charge rates by demographic basis, observe basis and spatial variation in charge rates, and examine potential sources of this variation. The authors find that discrimination charge rates are much higher for the disabled and African Americans than for women, people older than 40 years, Hispanics, Asians, immigrants, and men, and there is dramatic state-level variation in charge rates. Possible explanations for this variation include access to legal representation, post-complaint employer retaliation, job loss, rights consciousness, and variations in charge outcomes. Findings point toward regulatory outcomes mandating changes in employer behavior as the only robust antecedent to discrimination charge filing. Unfortunately remedies targeting employer behavior are rare, while employer retaliation and firing are common. Neither access to law nor the frequency of monetary damages are associated with charge filing. Rights consciousness is associated with more discrimination charge filings, but only on the bases of disability.


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