Her say

Kevin Lewis

June 15, 2017

And the Children Shall Lead: Gender Diversity and Performance in Venture Capital
Paul Gompers & Sophie Wang
NBER Working Paper, May 2017


With an overall lack of gender and ethnic diversity in the innovation sector documented in Gompers and Wang (2017), we ask the natural next question: Does increased diversity lead to better firm performances? In this paper, we attempt to answer this question using a unique dataset of the gender of venture capital partners’ children. First, we find strong evidence that parenting more daughters leads to an increased propensity to hire female partners by venture capital firms. Second, using an instrumental variable set-up, we also show that improved gender diversity, induced by parenting more daughters, improves deal and fund performances. These effects concentrate overwhelmingly on the daughters of senior partners than junior partners. Taken together, our findings have profound implications on how the capital markets could function better with improved diversity.

Women and African Americans are less influential when they express anger during group decision making
Jessica Salerno, Liana Peter-Hagene & Alexander Jay
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming


Expressing anger can signal that someone is certain and competent, thereby increasing their social influence — but does this strategy work for everyone? After assessing gender- and race-based emotion stereotypes (Study 1), we assessed the effect of expressing anger on social influence during group decision making as a function of gender (Studies 2–3) and race (Study 3). Participants took part in a computerized mock jury decision-making task, during which they read scripted comments ostensibly from other jurors. A “holdout” juror always disagreed with the participant and four other confederate group members. We predicted that the contextual factor of who expressed emotion would trump what was expressed in determining whether anger is a useful persuasion strategy. People perceived all holdouts expressing anger as more emotional than holdouts who expressed identical arguments without anger. Yet holdouts who expressed anger (versus no anger) were less effective and influential when they were female (but not male, Study 2) or Black (but not White, Study 3) — despite having expressed identical arguments and anger. Although anger expression made participants perceive the holdouts as more emotional regardless of race and gender, being perceived as more emotional was selectively used to discredit women and African Americans. These diverging consequences of anger expression have implications for societally important group decisions, including life-and-death decisions made by juries.

The gender of opponents: Explaining gender differences in performance and risk-taking
Michael Jetter & Jay Walker
European Economic Review, forthcoming


Analyzing 8,169 contestants over 32 years of the US game show Jeopardy!, we find that women compete more aggressively, become (marginally) more competitive, and take on more risk when paired against men. Specifically, a woman is more likely to win a Jeopardy! episode and, within the show, to respond to a clue. Once responding, she is also marginally more likely to respond correctly. Potentially most surprising, even the sizeable gender gap in risk-taking (analyzing Daily Double wagering decisions) disappears once a woman competes in an otherwise all-male field of competitors. Men, on the other hand, wager significantly less when paired against women only, but the gender of opponents does not affect their competitive performance otherwise. Our rich sample allows us to control for a host of potentially confounding factors and player-fixed effects, thereby eliminating potential biases from unobservable individual characteristics. Our findings are consistent with an explanation that emphasizes an adaptation to “social norms” applied to gender.

The Role of Firms in Gender Earnings Inequality: Evidence from the United States
Isaac Sorkin
American Economic Review, May 2017, Pages 384-387


This paper documents that in the US, men are more likely than women to work in both high-wage firms and high-wage industries. I then ask why this sorting occurs. I consider two main explanations: men and women have different preferences, and men and women have different opportunities. Through the lens of a simple random search model, I find that the dominant explanation for sorting is differences in opportunities. One implication of this result is that women are at firms that offer better nonpay characteristics, and this plays an important role in explaining the gender earnings gap.

Promoted Up But Also Out? The Unintended Consequences of Increasing Women’s Representation in Managerial Roles in Engineering
Teresa Cardador
Organization Science, forthcoming


Engineering remains one of the most highly and persistently sex segregated occupations in the United States. Though extant literature submits that women’s increased access to managerial positions in male-dominated occupations should represent an important strategy for addressing sex segregation, my analysis of 61 interviews with industry engineers suggests that increasing women’s disproportionate representation in managerial roles in engineering may promote the very sex segregation it is attempting to mitigate. The analysis highlights how organizations reinforce female engineers’ movement into managerial roles and foster a form of intraoccupational sex segregation with unintended consequences for women. These consequences include fostering mixed identification with engineering, reinforcing stereotypes about women’s suitability for technical work, and increasing work–life balance tensions. The findings further suggest that an inverted role hierarchy in engineering may explain these gendered career patterns and their unintended consequences. By inverted role hierarchy I mean the valuing of technical over managerial roles. Implications for the literatures on occupational sex segregation, women’s representation in managerial roles, and the experience of women in male-dominated occupations are discussed.

Meritocracies or Masculinities? The Differential Allocation of Named Professorships by Gender in the Academy
Len Treviño et al.
Journal of Management, forthcoming


This study analyzes differential appointments by gender to the rank of named professorship based on a sample of 511 management professors. This sample represents approximately 90% of our original survey sample of faculty at Tier 1 American research universities, with 10 or more years of experience since receiving their PhD, and whose contact information we could obtain online. Contrary to the tenets of the meritocratic evaluation model, we find that, after controlling for research performance and other factors, women are less likely to be awarded named professorships, particularly when the endowed chair is awarded to an internal candidate. Furthermore, we find that women derive lower returns from their scholarly achievements when it comes to appointments to endowed chairs. Our study suggests that a masculine-gendered environment dominates management departments, leading to shifting standards when it comes to the highest senior appointments in academe.

When Beauty Doesn't Pay: Gender and Beauty Biases in a Peer-to-Peer Loan Market
Ko Kuwabara & Sarah Thébaud
Social Forces, June 2017, Pages 1371-1398


We analyzed a random sample of individual listings from an online market for peer-to-peer lending to examine the effects of gender and attractiveness on receiving loans. In this setting, we tested the theoretical argument that women are penalized for violating beliefs about women's social roles when they seek loans for male-typed endeavors, such as running a business. Consistent with this theory, female borrowers seeking loans for business purposes were less likely to receive funding. Surprisingly, women's facial attractiveness moderated this effect: women seeking business loans were even less likely to receive funding if they were attractive. This result qualifies the conventional notion of beauty as a diffuse asset and underscores the alternative idea that beauty may accentuate perceived femininity and thus exacerbate the disadvantages that women face in male-typed domains. Overall, our research shows that gender beliefs about task-relevant competence can carry over from more formalized organizational contexts into new forms of online transactions that are designed to reduce biases that result from face-to-face interactions.

Should I stay or should I go? Implications of maternity leave choice for perceptions of working mothers
Thekla Morgenroth & Madeline Heilman
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2017, Pages 53–56


Working mothers often find themselves in a difficult situation when trying to balance work and family responsibilities and to manage expectations about their work and parental effectiveness. Family-friendly policies such as maternity leave have been introduced to address this issue. But how are women who then make the decision to go or not go on maternity leave evaluated? We presented 296 employed participants with information about a woman who made the decision to take maternity leave or not, or about a control target for whom this decision was not relevant, and asked them to evaluate her both in the work and the family domain. We found that both decisions had negative consequences, albeit in different domains. While the woman taking maternity leave was evaluated more negatively in the work domain, the woman deciding against maternity leave was evaluated more negatively in the family domain. These evaluations were mediated by perceptions of work/family commitment priorities. We conclude that while it is important to introduce policies that enable parents to reconcile family and work demands, decisions about whether to take advantage of these policies can have unintended consequences – consequences that can complicate women's efforts to balance work and childcare responsibilities.

Student Appearance and Academic Performance
Rey Hernández-Julián & Christina Peters
Journal of Human Capital, Summer 2017, Pages 247-262


Studies have shown that attractive people have higher earnings. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that physical attractiveness proxies for unobserved productivity. We compare the impact of attractiveness on grades in college courses where instructors directly observe the student’s appearance and courses where they do not. We find that in traditional classrooms, appearance matters: both below- and above-average-appearance female students earn lower grades. In regressions including student fixed effects, we find that students of above-average appearance earn significantly lower grades in online courses than those in traditional courses, a finding driven mainly by courses taught by male instructors. Our empirical evidence provides little support for the hypothesis that appearance is a proxy for productive traits but instead suggests that the return to appearance is due to discrimination.

Do Pimples Pay? Acne, Human Capital, and the Labor Market
Hugo Mialon & Erik Nesson
Emory University Working Paper, May 2017


We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to investigate the association between having acne in middle to high school and subsequent educational and labor market outcomes. We find that the shock of having acne is positively associated with overall grade point average in high school, grades in high-school English, history, math, and science, and the completion of a college degree. The associations are stronger for women and whites than for men and blacks. We also find some evidence that acne is associated with higher personal labor market earnings for women. Knowledge of these associations may provide consolation and hope to teenagers suffering from acne. We further explore possible channels through which acne may affect education and earnings.

STEM Parents and Women in Finance
Renee Adams, Brad Barber & Terrance Odean
University of California Working Paper, May 2017


We test the hypothesis that parental role models differentially affect the future career choices of girls and boys. To do so, we survey the CFA membership to learn the occupational status of parents and siblings. A female CFA member is much more likely to have a STEM parent or sibling than a male CFA member, and the difference is larger when we analyze STEM mothers and sisters. We use the survey results to estimate the differential effect of having a STEM parent on daughters and sons: STEM mothers increase the baseline rate at which daughters become CFA members by 48% more than sons; STEM fathers increase the baseline rate at which daughters become CFA members by 29% more than sons.

Female peer mentors early in college increase women’s positive academic experiences and retention in engineering
Tara Dennehy & Nilanjana Dasgupta
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 6 June 2017, Pages 5964–5969


Scientific and engineering innovation is vital for American competitiveness, quality of life, and national security. However, too few American students, especially women, pursue these fields. Although this problem has attracted enormous attention, rigorously tested interventions outside artificial laboratory settings are quite rare. To address this gap, we conducted a longitudinal field experiment investigating the effect of peer mentoring on women’s experiences and retention in engineering during college transition, assessing its impact for 1 y while mentoring was active, and an additional 1 y after mentoring had ended. Incoming women engineering students (n = 150) were randomly assigned to female or male peer mentors or no mentors for 1 y. Their experiences were assessed multiple times during the intervention year and 1-y postintervention. Female (but not male) mentors protected women’s belonging in engineering, self-efficacy, motivation, retention in engineering majors, and postcollege engineering aspirations. Counter to common assumptions, better engineering grades were not associated with more retention or career aspirations in engineering in the first year of college. Notably, increased belonging and self-efficacy were significantly associated with more retention and career aspirations. The benefits of peer mentoring endured long after the intervention had ended, inoculating women for the first 2 y of college—the window of greatest attrition from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. Thus, same-gender peer mentoring for a short period during developmental transition points promotes women’s success and retention in engineering, yielding dividends over time.

Sexually Objectifying Environments: Power, Rumination, and Waitresses’ Anxiety and Disordered Eating
Dawn Szymanski & Renee Mikorski
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming


In this study, we investigated the relations between sexually objectifying restaurant environments (SOREs) and anxiety and disordered eating in a sample of 252 waitresses working in restaurants located in the United States. Supporting our hypotheses, results indicated that higher levels of SOREs were positively correlated with waitresses’ anxiety and disordered eating. Our findings also supported a theorized four-chain mediation model in which higher levels of SOREs were related to both anxiety and disordered eating directly and indirectly via, in serial: less organizational power, less personal power and control, and more rumination. In addition, SOREs and a lack of organizational power had direct, unique links to rumination. Our findings highlight the importance of both contextual and intrapersonal factors in understanding waitresses’ mental health problems. These findings underscore the need to implement both system-level and individual-level interventions to combat the existence of SOREs and the negative effects these environments may have on women who work in the industry.

Support for Leader's Decisions in Conflict and Negotiation: Women Do Not Benefit From Relevant Expertise While Men Do
Moran Anisman-Razin et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming


In the present research, we examined the role of leaders' domain-specific expertise and gender as affecting individuals' evaluation of proposals related to intergroup conflict. Across three studies, conducted in two different conflict-related contexts (Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the refugee crisis in Europe), we showed that men and women do not equally benefit from domain-specific expertise. Having high (compared to low) domain-specific expertise positively affected participants' attitudes towards the proposal when its author was a man but not when she was a woman. We further demonstrate that specific characteristics of the proposal (i.e., security relevance) and of the participants (i.e., level of sexism) affect reactions to different negotiation proposals. Our findings suggest that even when women acquire relevant knowledge and experience, they do not benefit from them as much as men. One implication of these findings is that training and enhancing women's expertise may not be enough to eliminate gender bias.

Compensation, Diversity and Inclusion at the World Bank Group
Jishnu Das, Clement Joubert & Sander Florian Tordoir
World Bank Working Paper, May 2017


This paper examines salary gaps by gender and nationality at the World Bank Group between 1987 and 2015 using a unique panel of all employees over this period. The paper develops and implements a dynamic simulation approach that models existing gaps as arising from differences in job composition at entry, entry salaries, salary growth and attrition. There are three main findings. First, 76 percent of the $27,400 salary gap across the average male and female staff at the World Bank Group can be attributed to composition effects, whereby men entered the World Bank Group at higher paid positions, particularly in the earlier half of the sample. Second, salary gaps 15 years after joining the World Bank Group can favor either men or women depending on their entry position. Third, for the most common entry-level professional position (known as Grade GF at the World Bank Group) there is a gender gap of 3.5 percent in favor of males 15 years after entry. The majority of this gap (84 percent) is due to differences in salary growth rather than differences in entry salaries or attrition. The pattern of these gaps is similar for staff from different nationalities. The dynamic decomposition method developed here thus identifies specific areas of concern and can be widely applied to the analysis of salary gaps within firms.

Sex Doesn’t Always Sell: The Effects of Objectifying Images on the Perceived Competence of a Spokeswoman
Terrence Horgan et al.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming


What effect might exposure to sexually objectifying images of women have on how female perceivers subsequently rate a spokeswoman’s competence? Because sexually objectifying images dehumanize and devalue women, perceivers were predicted to rate the spokeswoman as less competent. Female undergraduates in the United States participated in a laboratory experiment in which they either saw objectifying or control images of women before they listened to a speech by a spokeswoman who either had a lean or heavier body build. The spokeswoman’s body build had no effect on her perceived competence. However, relative to controls, women who had first seen objectifying images of other women saw the spokeswoman as less effective and were less persuaded by her. The implications of these findings for objectification theory and advertising are discussed.

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