Looking Like the Country

Kevin Lewis

November 12, 2020

Is discrimination widespread? Testing assumptions about bias on a university campus
Mitchell Campbell & Markus Brauer
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming


Discrimination has persisted in our society despite steady improvements in explicit attitudes toward marginalized social groups. The most common explanation for this apparent paradox is that due to implicit biases, most individuals behave in slightly discriminatory ways outside of their own awareness (the dispersed discrimination account). Another explanation holds that a numerical minority of individuals who are moderately or highly biased are responsible for most observed discriminatory behaviors (the concentrated discrimination account). We tested these 2 accounts against each other in a series of studies at a large, public university (total N = 16,600). In 4 large-scale surveys, students from marginalized groups reported that they generally felt welcome and respected on campus (albeit less so than nonmarginalized students) and that a numerical minority of their peers (around 20%) engage in subtle or explicit forms of discrimination. In 5 field experiments with 8 different samples, we manipulated the social group membership of trained confederates and measured the behaviors of naïve bystanders. The results showed that between 5% and 20% of the participants treated the confederates belonging to marginalized groups more negatively than nonmarginalized confederates. Our findings are inconsistent with the dispersed discrimination account but support the concentrated discrimination account. The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Our results suggest that the Pareto principle also applies to discrimination, at least at the large, public university where the studies were conducted. We discuss implications for prodiversity initiatives.

Gender Attitudes in the Judiciary: Evidence from U.S. Circuit Courts
Elliott Ash, Daniel Chen & Arianna Ornaghi
University of Warwick Working Paper, June 2020


Do gender attitudes influence interactions with female judges in U.S. Circuit Courts? In this paper, we propose a novel judge-specific measure of gender attitudes based on use of gender-stereotyped language in the judge’s authored opinions. Exploiting quasi-random assignment of judges to cases and conditioning on judges’ characteristics, we validate the measure showing that slanted judges vote more conservatively in gender-related cases. Slant influences interactions with female colleagues: slanted judges are more likely to reverse lower-court decisions if the lower-court judge is a woman than a man, are less likely to assign opinions to female judges, and cite fewer female-authored opinions.

Gendered Racial Stereotypes and Coaching Intercollegiate Athletic Teams: The Representation of Black and Asian Women Coaches on U.S. Women’s and Men’s Teams
George Cunningham, Pamela Wicker & Kathryn Kutsko
Sex Roles, forthcoming


The purpose of this study was to examine the representation of Black and Asian women coaches on women’s and men’s intercollegiate athletic teams. Through the theoretical lens of gendered racial stereotypes associating Black individuals with masculinity and Asian individuals with femininity, the authors hypothesized that, among women coaches, Black women coaches would be better represented on men’s teams and Asian women coaches better represented on women’s teams. The authors collected archival data from the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA) Demographics Database, including data on the racial and gender demographics of all coaches across each season available (2007/2008 through 2016/2017). The final dataset included aggregated data from 11 seasons and all sports across three divisions (n = 2540 teams, 625,119 coaches). The results of two-way analyses of covariance showed that Black women coaches (n = 17,983) were better represented within men’s teams and were more likely to be employed as head coaches than as assistant coaches on these teams. The results did not provide evidence of the Asian-femininity linkage for the 1778 Asian women coaches we identified. Among White coaches, women (n = 134,696) were more likely to serve on women’s teams than on men’s. The findings reveal that gender and race intersect to shape opportunities for women coaches, suggesting that efforts are required to minimize the potential influence of gendered racial stereotypes in intercollegiate athletics.

The impact of classroom diversity philosophies on the STEM performance of undergraduate students of color
Jessica Good, Kimberly Bourne & Grace Drake
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming


Using a large, nationally representative sample of first year undergraduate students we tested whether instructors' use of diversity philosophies could impact the learning of new math and science content among Students of Color and White students. Participants (N = 688) were randomly assigned to one of nine simulated online course environments using a 3 (diversity philosophy: Multicultural, Colorblind, Control) × 3 (lesson: Chemistry, Physics, Math) × 2 (participant race: Students of Color, White students) between-participants experimental design. After listening to an audio welcome message from the instructor and reading the course syllabus, both of which contained the embedded diversity philosophy manipulation, participants watched a novel 10-minute lesson, completed a comprehension quiz, as well as measures of belonging and perceived instructor bias. Students of Color showed greater comprehension of the math/science lesson in the multicultural condition compared to the colorblind condition. Students of Color also perceived the instructor to be less biased in the multicultural condition compared to the colorblind condition. White students tended to either be unaffected or oppositely affected by the diversity philosophy manipulation. Overall, results suggest that college instructors' use of multicultural (or colorblind) language sends a signal of inclusion (or exclusion) to Students of Color, affecting not only their social experience in the class but also their learning potential.

Women’s Advancement in Politics: Evidence from Congressional Staff
Melinda Ritchie & Hye Young You
Journal of Politics, forthcoming


We examine gender differences in policy influence and advancement within the congressional office context using US Congress payroll system data between 2001 and 2014. We document how congressional careers share structural features with non-political occupations with gender gaps. We find that women staffers experience slower promotion and less compensation than men at the same rank and that the gender gap is most salient for positions presenting the greatest structural challenges for women. However, these differences are shaped by the salience of gender equality issues within the office, varying by legislators’ party and gender and by the roles of other women within the office. Our analysis offers leverage for assessing previous explanations for women’s underrepresentation among policymakers, suggesting that electoral factors, supply lag, and institutional inertia do not solely account for gender differences. However, the political context mitigates gender disparity because of the salience of gender equality within the political workplace.

Strength in Numbers: A Field Experiment in Gender, Influence, and Group Dynamics
Olga Stoddard, Chris Karpowitz & Jessica Preece
BYU Working Paper, September 2020


Policy interventions to increase women's presence in the workforce and leadership positions vary in their intensity, with some including a lone or token woman and others setting higher quotas. However, little is known about how the resulting group gender compositions influence individuals' experiences and broader workplace dynamics. In this paper, we investigate whether token women are disadvantaged compared to women on majority-women mixed-gender teams. We conducted a multi-year field experiment with a top-10 undergraduate accounting program that randomized the gender composition of semester-long teams. Using laboratory, survey, and administrative data, we find that even after accounting for their proportion of the group, token women are seen as less influential by their peers and are less likely to be chosen to represent the group than women on majority-women teams. Token women also participate slightly less in group discussions and receive less credit when they do. Women's increased authority in majority-women teams is driven primarily by men's behavior, not homophily or self-assessment. We find that over time, the gap in general assessments of influence between token and other women shrinks, but this improvement does not carry over to task-specific assessments. Finally, predictors of future grades are different for token women than for other participants, and regardless of treatment condition, women's task expertise is incorporated into group decisions less often than men's. Our findings have implications for team assignments in male-dominated settings and cast significant doubt on the idea that token women can solve influence gaps by "leaning in."

Gender and Race Preferences in Hiring in the Age of Diversity Goals: Evidence from Silicon Valley Tech Firms
Prasanna Parasurama, Anindya Ghose & Panagiotis Ipeirotis
NYU Working Paper, August 2020


We study the heterogeneous effects of race and gender on hiring outcomes in the context of organizational diversity efforts. Against the backdrop of increasing scrutiny around diversity issues in tech companies and the concomitant growing response of organizational efforts to increase workforce diversity, we revisit the age-old question of whether race and gender preferences (continue to) exist in hiring decisions. We address this question using two novel, large-scale datasets: Applicant Tracking System data from 8 Silicon Valley firms containing nearly 900k applicants, and a LinkedIn dataset containing 300 million public LinkedIn profiles. Using matched sample analyses and controlling for a rich set of job and applicant attributes found in applicants’ resumes and LinkedIn profiles, we find that women are 9-10% more likely to receive a callback compared to men, whereas Black, Hispanic, and Asian applicants are 8-13% less likely to receive a callback compared to White applicants. These outcome gaps do not cancel-out in the later stages, as female and White applicants are more likely to receive an interview and offer. To further address endogeneity concerns, we perform quasi-experimental analysis involving applicants whose race and gender are ambiguous to the recruiter in the initial application review stage, but are later revealed in the phone screen stage. We find that ambiguity in applicants’ race and gender attenuates the main effects of race and gender on receiving a callback – that is, the outcome gap in callback disappears for applicants whose race and gender are ambiguous to the recruiter. We discuss these results in light of theories of statistical discrimination, value-in- diversity, and institutional norms around diversity, and highlight how diversity efforts may not categorically benefit all underrepresented minorities.

Covering in Cover Letters: Gender and Self-Presentation in Job Applications
Joyce He & Sonia Kang
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming


Despite decades of research and intervention efforts, gender-based occupational segregation remains a significant problem. An emerging body of research suggests that one way women overcome gender discrimination when applying for male-dominated jobs is by deliberately managing gender impressions. However, social role theory and research on prescriptive stereotypes suggests that these attempts to manage gender may backfire. In this research, we theorize that, while women actively respond to anticipated sexism using social-identity-based impression management (SIM) strategies (e.g., attempting to appear less feminine in cover letters), these actions can actually backfire because they clash with prescriptive gender stereotypes. Across three studies, we investigate the motivations, techniques, and outcomes of managing gender in job applications for different kinds of jobs. We find that women, but not men, manage gender when applying for gender-incongruent (i.e., male-dominated) jobs by using less feminine language, and that, paradoxically, they are less likely to be hired when they do so. The current research contributes to our understanding of the consequences of SIM strategies and shows that women’s coping behavior in response to existing gender inequalities in the labor market is a novel and ironic mechanism through which occupational gender-segregation is perpetuated.

Gender Gaps in the Evaluation of Research: Evidence from Submissions to Economics Conferences
Laura Hospido & Carlos Sanz
Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming


We study gender differences in the evaluation of submissions to economics conferences. Using data on more than 9,000 submissions from the Annual Congress of the European Economic Association (2015–17), the Annual Meeting of the Spanish Economic Association (2012–17) and the Spring Meeting of Young Economists (2018), we find that all‐female‐authored papers are 3.3% points (p.p.), or 6.8%, less likely to be accepted than all‐male‐authored papers. The estimated gap ranges from 5.4 p.p. (95% CI: 2.5 p.p., 8.3 p.p.) to 2.9 p.p. (0 p.p., 5.8 p.p.). This gap is present after controlling for number of authors of the paper; field; referee fixed effects; cites of the paper; authors’ previous publication record, affiliations, and experience; and connections between the authors of a given paper and the referees that evaluate it. We provide evidence suggesting that the gap is driven by stereotypes against female authors: it is entirely driven by male referees, only exists for lesser‐known authors, and seems larger in more masculine fields, especially in finance.

Gender and social network brokerage: A meta-analysis and field investigation
Ruolian Fang, Zhen Zhang & Jason Shaw
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming


In this article, we aim to address 2 important questions: (a) Are women less likely than men to occupy network brokerage positions? And if so, (b) what mechanisms may explain their fewer brokerage roles? Study 1, a meta-analysis examining gender differences in network brokerage, analyzed a cumulative sample of 15,743 individuals (69 independent samples) to show that women were less likely to be brokers in both instrumental and expressive networks, which partly explained their lower career success. Study 2, a follow-up study with 2 independent samples of new employees (n = 150 and 245, respectively), examined both structural opportunity (job-based opportunity and workplace discrimination) and individual agency (proactive networking) as potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between gender and network brokerage. Results of these 2 samples consistently show that proactive networking mediated gender’s effect on network brokerage that was measured 6 months after the new employees entered their organizations. The predictions regarding the mediation effects of job-based opportunity and workplace discrimination were not supported. Our findings offer valuable insights into the relative positions of women and men in informal structures of organizational networks, advance our understanding of gender inequality in career outcomes, and shed new light on the relative importance of individual agency and structural opportunity in explaining individuals’ occupancy of advantageous network positions.

Wage responses to gender pay gap reporting requirements
Jack Blundell
Stanford Working Paper, October 2020


In this paper I study a policy in which employers are required to publicly report gender pay gap statistics. Proponents argue that increasing the information available to workers and consumers puts pressure on firms to take responsibility for pay gaps and ultimately close them, but opponents argue that such policies are poorly targeted and hence ineffective. This paper contributes to the debate by analysing the UK’s recent reporting policy, in which employers are mandated to publicly report simple measures of their gender pay gap each year. Exploiting a discontinuous size threshold in the policy’s coverage, I apply a difference- in-difference strategy to linked employer-employee payroll data. I find that the introduction of reporting requirements led to a two percentage-point narrowing of the gender pay gap at affected employers. This large effect is due to an increase in female workers’ wages and a fall in male workers’ wages rather than a change in the composition of the workforce at affected organisations. The effect is driven by higher-earning workers towards the start of their careers and not covered by collective bargaining agreements. Newly-gathered survey evidence suggests a strong ‘naming-and-shaming’ effect of the policy. Younger highly-educated women are most reactive to pay gap information, consistent with pay gap reports signalling gender differences in within-employer career trajectories.

Room composition effects on risk taking by gender
Marco Castillo, Greg Leo & Ragan Petrie
Experimental Economics, September 2020, Pages 895–911


We present evidence of a direct social context effect on decision-making under uncertainty: the gender composition of those in the room when making individual risky decisions significantly alters choices even when the actions or presence of others are not payoff relevant. In our environment, decision makers do not know the choices made by others, nor can they be inferred from the experiment. We find that women become more risk taking as the proportion of men in the room increases, but the behavior of men is unaffected by who is present. We discuss some potential mechanisms for this result and conjecture it is driven by women being aware of the social context and imitating the expected behavior of others. Our results imply that the environment in which individual decisions are made can change expressed preferences and that aggregate behavior may be context dependent.

Creating Mutual Gains to Leverage a Racially Diverse Workforce: The Effects of Firm-Level Racial Diversity on Financial and Workforce Outcomes Under the Use of Broad-Based Stock Options
Joo Hun Han  et al.
Organization Science, November-December 2020, Pages 1515–1537


Despite substantial scholarly attention to workforce demographic diversity, existing research is limited in understanding whether or in what contexts firm-level racial diversity relates to performance and workforce outcomes of the firm. Drawing on social interdependence theory along with insights from social exchange and psychological ownership theories, we propose that the use of broad-based stock options granted to at least half the workforce creates the conditions supporting a positive relationship between workforce racial diversity and firm outcomes. We examine this proposition by analyzing panel data from 155 companies that applied for the “100 Best Companies to Work For” competition with responses from 109,314 employees over the five-year period from 2006 to 2010 (354 company-year observations). Findings revealed that racial diversity was positively related to subsequent firm financial performance and individual affective commitment and was not significantly associated with subsequent voluntary turnover rates, when accompanied by a firm’s adoption of broad-based stock options. However, under the nonuse of broad-based stock options, racial diversity was significantly related to higher voluntary turnover rates and lower employee affective commitment, with no financial performance gains. By documenting the beneficial effects of financial incentives in diverse workplaces, this paper extends theory asserting the value of incentives for performance.

How Do Affirmative Action Bans Affect the Racial Composition of Postsecondary Students in Public Institutions?
Huacong Liu
Educational Policy, forthcoming


This study investigates the associations between statewide affirmative action bans and the racial composition of undergraduate students at public 4-year colleges and universities in five states, that is, Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma. I use the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System data from 1999 to 2017, and find that despite having few selective postsecondary institutions, public four-year institutions in these five states experienced an average decline of 0.42 percentage points in the enrollment of underrepresented racial-ethnic minority students following bans on affirmative action. Further, the bans also decreased the enrollment of underrepresented racial-ethnic minority students at four state public flagship universities.


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