Mad Women

Kevin Lewis

March 29, 2012

Performance Support Bias and the Gender Pay Gap Among Stockbrokers

Janice Fanning Madden
Gender & Society, forthcoming

This article analyzes organizational mechanisms, and their contexts, leading to gender inequality among stockbrokers in two large brokerages. Inequality is the result of gender differences in sales, as both firms use performance-based pay, paying entirely by commissions. This article develops and tests whether performance-support bias, whereby women receive inferior sales support and sales assignments, causes the commissions gap. Newly available data on the brokerages' internal transfers of accounts among brokers allows measurement of performance-support bias. Gender differences in the quality and quantity of transferred accounts provide a way to measure gender differences in the assignment of sales opportunities and support. Sales generated from internally transferred accounts, controlling for the accounts' sales histories, provide a "natural experiment" testing for gender differences in sales capacities. The evidence for performance-support bias is (1) women are assigned inferior accounts and (2) women produce sales equivalent to men when given accounts with equivalent prior sales histories.


Can an Agentic Black Woman Get Ahead? The Impact of Race and Interpersonal Dominance on Perceptions of Female Leaders

Robert Livingston, Ashleigh Shelby Rosette & Ella Washington
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Prior research has demonstrated that the display of agentic behaviors, such as dominance, can produce backlash against female leaders because of the incongruence between these behaviors and prescribed gender roles. The current study was designed to fill a gap in existing research by investigating whether these well-established findings are moderated by race. Results revealed that dominant Black female leaders did not create the same backlash that dominant White female leaders did. Experimental evidence confirmed that White female (and Black male) leaders were conferred lower status when they expressed dominance rather than communality, whereas Black female (and White male) leaders were not. These findings highlight the importance, and complexity, of considering the intersection of gender and race when examining penalties for and proscriptions against dominant behavior of female leaders.


Race is gendered: How covarying phenotypes and stereotypes bias sex categorization

Kerri Johnson, Jonathan Freeman & Kristin Pauker
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, January 2012, Pages 116-131

We argue that race and sex categories are psychologically and phenotypically confounded, affecting social categorizations and their efficiency. Sex categorization of faces was facilitated when the race category shared facial phenotypes or stereotypes with the correct sex category (e.g., Asian women and Black men) but was impaired when the race category shared incompatible phenotypes or stereotypes with the correct sex category (e.g., Asian men and Black women). These patterns were evident in the disambiguation of androgynous faces (Study 1) and the efficiency of judgments (Studies 1, 2, 4, and 5). These patterns emerged due to common facial phenotypes for the categories Black and men (Studies 3 and 5) and due to shared stereotypes among the categories Black and men and the categories Asian and women (Studies 4 and 5). These findings challenge the notion that social categories are perceived independent of one another and show, instead, that race is gendered.


Sounds like a winner: Voice pitch influences perception of leadership capacity in both men and women

Casey Klofstad, Rindy Anderson & Susan Peters
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, forthcoming

It is well known that non-human animals respond to information encoded in vocal signals, and the same can be said of humans. Specifically, human voice pitch affects how speakers are perceived. As such, does voice pitch affect how we perceive and select our leaders? To answer this question, we recorded men and women saying ‘I urge you to vote for me this November'. Each recording was manipulated digitally to yield a higher- and lower-pitched version of the original. We then asked men and women to vote for either the lower- or higher-pitched version of each voice. Our results show that both men and women select male and female leaders with lower voices. These findings suggest that men and women with lower-pitched voices may be more successful in obtaining positions of leadership. This might also suggest that because women, on average, have higher-pitched voices than men, voice pitch could be a factor that contributes to fewer women holding leadership roles than men. Additionally, while people are free to choose their leaders, these results clearly demonstrate that these choices cannot be understood in isolation from biological influences.


Facing the situation: Testing a biosocial contingency model of leadership in intergroup relations using masculine and feminine faces

Brian Spisak et al.
Leadership Quarterly, April 2012, Pages 273-280

Using an evolutionary psychology framework we propose that leadership and followership are evolved traits to solve recurrent group coordination problems. We argue that adaptive problems such as those concerning intergroup conflict or cooperation activate different cognitive leadership prototypes, and the face conveys diagnostic information about the suitability and emergence of intergroup leadership. Consistent with hypotheses we find that followers expect masculine-faced leaders to behave competitively and feminine-faced leaders cooperatively in intergroup relations. Furthermore, individuals prefer leaders whose facial cues match the adaptive problem. For example, a masculine-looking leader is preferred in a competitive intergroup setting. Also, this match between face and situation is reinforced with a consistent leadership message such as a masculine-looking leader expressing the need for competition. An evolutionary perspective provides a deeper understanding of the biological aspects of leadership and generates many novel hypotheses about how markers such as the human face affect leadership emergence and effectiveness.


Gender Deviance and Household Work: The Role of Occupation

Daniel Schneider
American Journal of Sociology, January 2012, Pages 1029-1072

This article takes a new approach to gender and housework by identifying a new measure of gender deviance - work in gender-atypical occupations - and by arguing that men who do "women's work" and women who do "men's work" in the labor market may seek to neutralize their gender deviance by doing male- and female-typed work at home. Analysis of data from the National Survey of Families and Households and the 2003-7 waves of the American Time Use Survey shows that men who do "women's work" in the market spend more time on male-typed housework relative to men in gender-balanced occupations and their wives spend more time on female-typed housework. Women in gender-atypical occupations also do more female-typed housework than women in gender-balanced occupations. The article provides clearer evidence about the important ways in which cultural conceptions of gender shape and are shaped by economic processes.


My Fair Physicist? Feminine Math and Science Role Models Demotivate Young Girls

Diana Betz & Denise Sekaquaptewa
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are labeled unfeminine, a costly social label that may discourage female students from pursuing these fields. Challenges to this stereotype include feminine STEM role models, but their counterstereotypic-yet-feminine success may actually be demotivating, particularly to young girls. Study 1 showed that feminine STEM role models reduced middle school girls' current math interest, self-rated ability, and success expectations relative to gender-neutral STEM role models and depressed future plans to study math among STEM-disidentified girls. These results did not extend to feminine role models displaying general (not STEM-specific) school success, indicating that feminine cues were not driving negative outcomes. Study 2 suggested that feminine STEM role models' combination of femininity and success seemed particularly unattainable to STEM-disidentified girls. The results call for a better understanding of feminine STEM figures aimed at motivating young girls.


Does Menstruation Explain Gender Gaps in Work Absenteeism?

Mariesa Herrmann & Jonah Rockoff
Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2012, Pages 493-508

Ichino and Moretti (2009) find that menstruation may contribute to gender gaps in absenteeism and earnings, based on evidence that absences of young female Italian bank employees follow a 28-day cycle. We find this evidence is not robust to the correction of coding errors or small changes in specification, and we find no evidence of increased female absenteeism on 28-day cycles in data on school teachers. We show that five day work weeks can cause misleading group differences in absence hazards at multiples of seven, including 28 days, and illustrate this problem by comparing absence patterns of younger males to older males.


When Performance Trumps Gender Bias: Joint versus Separate Evaluation

Iris Bohnet, Alexandra van Geen & Max Bazerman
Harvard Working Paper, March 2012

We examine a new intervention to overcome gender biases in hiring, promotion, and job assignments: an "evaluation nudge," in which people are evaluated jointly rather than separately regarding their future performance. Evaluators are more likely to focus on individual performance in joint than in separate evaluation and on group stereotypes in separate than in joint evaluation, making joint evaluation the money-maximizing evaluation procedure. Our findings are compatible with a behavioral model of information processing and with the System 1/System 2 distinction in behavioral decision research where people have two distinct modes of thinking that are activated under certain conditions.


Broker beauty and boon: A study of physical attractiveness and its effect on real estate brokers' income and productivity

Sean Salter, Franklin Mixon & Ernest King
Applied Financial Economics, March 2012, Pages 811-825

This study examines beauty and its effect on real estate agents' wages. We develop a model of beauty and real estate agent wages, performing empirical tests of the theory. We apply Two-Stage Least Squares (2SLS) methodology to a combined data set that includes multiple listing service data and a unique survey designed to measure individual agents' beauty or attractiveness; the analysis takes two forms: transaction-level analysis and agent-level analysis. Results suggest that beauty augments more attractive agents' wages and that more attractive agents use beauty to supplement classic production-related characteristics such as effort, intelligence and organizational skills.


Investigating the Economic Determinants of the UK Gender Equality Policy Agenda

Claire Annesley & Francesca Gains
British Journal of Politics & International Relations, forthcoming

Promoting certain kinds of gender equality - such as promoting and supporting female participation in paid work or male engagement with unpaid care work - is costly. Yet, there has been little examination in gender and policy research of the economic determinants of gendered policy change. In this article we investigate, using graphs and descriptive analysis derived from three data sets, whether the agenda-setting possibilities of feminist policy actors pushing for redistributive gender policy are constrained by economic conditions. Our hypotheses are that it is easier to get costly gender equality policies on the agenda, first, when the economy is growing and, second, when advocates utilise an economic case to frame their arguments. We find that gender equality policy agendas in the UK appear to follow periods of positive economic performance and that economic framing of gender equality policy is essential.


Why is the sex gap in feelings of depression wider in high gender equity countries? The effect of children on the psychological well-being of men and women

Rosemary Hopcroft & Julie McLaughlin
Social Science Research, May 2012, Pages 501-513

This study uses data from 23 countries in the World Values Survey and the National Survey of Families and Households and finds that the sex gap in feelings of depression is wider in high gender equity societies even though overall levels of feelings of depression are lower. Using hierarchical logistic modeling, we find that the sex difference in feelings of depression is wider in high gender equity societies because children increase depression for women in high gender equity societies, while they reduce depression for women without paid employment in low gender equity societies. There is little difference in the effect of children on feelings of depression for men across societies.


Sex differences in mental rotation and cortical activation patterns: Can training change them?

Norbert Jaušovec & Ksenija Jaušovec
Intelligence, March-April 2012, Pages 151-162

In two experiments the neuronal mechanisms of sex differences in mental rotation were investigated. In Experiment 1 cortical activation was studied in women and men with similar levels of mental rotation ability (high, and average to low), who were equalized with respect to general intelligence. Sex difference in neuroelectric patterns of brain activity were observed only in participants with high mental rotation ability. Females displayed more theta synchronization, especially in frontal brain areas. In the second experiment we examined whether training can increase mental rotation performance in females and change their brain activity patterns measured with neuroelectric and hemodynamic imaging techniques. In a parallel group experimental design, respondents from the origami group (rotation training), after 18 h of training, significantly increased their performance on a test of mental rotation. Females' brain activation patterns on a posttest, as compared with a pretest, showed decreased frontal brain activity. Parallel to this, increased activity in parietal brain areas was observed. By contrast, respondents from the active control group (participating in 18-hour communication training) showed no improvements in performance and no pre-/posttest differences in cortical activity.


Digit Ratio Predicts Sense of Direction in Women

Xiaoqian Chai & Lucia Jacobs
PLoS ONE, February 2012

The relative length of the second-to-fourth digits (2D:4D) has been linked with prenatal androgen in humans. The 2D:4D is sexually dimorphic, with lower values in males than females, and appears to correlate with diverse measures of behavior. However, the relationship between digit ratio and cognition, and spatial cognition in particular, has produced mixed results. In the present study, we hypothesized that spatial tasks separating cue conditions that either favored female or male strategies would examine this structure-function correlation with greater precision. Previous work suggests that males are better in the use of directional cues than females. In the present study, participants learned a target location in a virtual landscape environment, in conditions that contained either all directional (i.e., distant or compass bearing) cues, or all positional (i.e., local, small objects) cues. After a short delay, participants navigated back to the target location from a novel starting location. Males had higher accuracy in initial search direction than females in environments with all directional cues. Lower digit ratio was correlated with higher accuracy of initial search direction in females in environments with all directional cues. Mental rotation scores did not correlate with digit ratio in either males or females. These results demonstrate for the first time that a sex difference in the use of directional cues, i.e., the sense of direction, is associated with more male-like digit ratio.


Men and Women Lobbyists in the American States

Jennifer Lucas & Mark Hyde
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This study compares men and women lobbyists who work in the American states in 1995 and 2005, arguing in contrast to previous research that there is a consistent pattern of sex differences that cannot be explained by differential patterns of experience.

Methods: Men and women are contrasted across three dimensions using original survey data from lobbyists in all 50 states. First, we examine lobbyists' background and experience, such as having previously held political office and years of experience lobbying. Second, differences between tactics employed by men and women are investigated. Third, the article draws a distinction between the attitudes of male and female lobbyists toward their profession.

Results: Differences between men and women within the three dimensions are found in both sets of data, with changes generally smaller in 2005.

Conclusion: Unlike previous studies, we find differences among male and female lobbyists in their background, strategies, and attitudes, but the gap between them is moderate and in some cases has decreased.


Men and Women Exhibit a Differential Bias for Processing Movement versus Objects

Robert McGivern et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2012

Sex differences in many spatial and verbal tasks appear to reflect an inherent low-level processing bias for movement in males and objects in females. We explored this potential movement/object bias in men and women using a computer task that measured targeting performance and/or color recognition. The targeting task showed a ball moving vertically towards a horizontal line. Before reaching the line, the ball disappeared behind a masking screen, requiring the participant to imagine the movement vector and identify the intersection point. For the color recognition task, the ball briefly changed color before disappearing beneath the mask and participants were required only to identify the color shade. Results showed that targeting accuracy for slow and fast moving balls was significantly better in males compared to females. No sex difference was observed for color shade recognition. We also studied a third, dual attention task comprised of the first two, where the moving ball briefly changed color randomly just before passing beneath the masking screen. When the ball changed color, participants were required only to identify the color shade. If the ball didn't change color, participants estimated the intersection point. Participants in this dual attention condition were first tested with the targeting and color tasks alone and showed results that were similar to the previous groups tested on a single task. However, under the dual attention condition, male accuracy in targeting, as well as color shade recognition, declined significantly compared to their performance when the tasks were tested alone. No significant changes were found in female performance. Finally, reaction times for targeting and color choices in both sexes correlated highly with ball speed, but not accuracy. Overall, these results provide evidence of a sex-related bias in processing objects versus movement, which may reflect sex differences in bottom up versus top-down analytical strategies.


Gender, borrowing patterns and self-employment: Some evidence for England

Vania Sena, Jonathan Scott & Stephen Roper
Small Business Economics, May 2012, Pages 467-480

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, we try to identify whether women have different borrowing patterns from men when trying to get into self-employment along with the factors that explain these different propensities. Second, we try to quantify the impact of these differences in borrowing propensity on women's willingness to become self-employed. The empirical analysis is carried out on a sample of individuals drawn from the English Household Survey of Entrepreneurship, 2003. Our results show that (1) women are less likely than men to seek external finance and that (2) gender differences in access to finance are affecting adversely the transition into self-employment.


Executive compensation and gender: S&P 1500 listed firms

João Paulo Vieito & Walayet Khan
Journal of Economics and Finance, April 2012, Pages 371-399

We examine if a gender gap persists in executive compensation and if the composition and the determinants of executive compensation for men versus women are the same for the S&P1500 listed firms during the period from 1992 to 2004. This analysis is also extended to high tech firms, where high scholarship is required both for male and female executives. The results reveal that the gender gap in executive compensation is reducing essentially after the year 2000. Also, the factors that explain the variation in executive compensation are not all the same for men and women. However, firms continue to pay women, who are considered more risk averse than men, a similar proportion of risky compensation components, such as stock options and restricted stocks, than they pay to men. In terms of technology firms, we find that the gender differences in total compensation are not statistically significant. Our study offers insight into recent data for executive compensation. The finding that the gender gap diminishes is a sign of a better functioning market for executives. Our findings could be potentially useful for compensation committees in order to develop compensation packages that take into consideration the degree of risk aversion in order to enhance performance. Compensation adjusted for risk aversion can produce a higher level of satisfaction for the employees and can lead to better performances. Future research should focus on international comparison of various dimensions of executive compensation.


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