Findings

Seizing the equal opportunity

Kevin Lewis

November 13, 2014

Digit ratio (2D:4D) and gender inequalities across nations

John Manning, Bernhard Fink & Robert Trivers
Evolutionary Psychology, Fall 2014, Pages 757-768

Abstract:
Gender inequality varies across nations, where such inequality is defined as the disproportionate representation of one sex over the other in desirable social, economic, and biological roles (typically male over female). Thus in Norway, 40% of parliamentarians are women, in the USA 17%, and in Saudi Arabia 0%. Some of this variation is associated with economic prosperity but there is evidence that this cause and effect can go in either direction. Here we show that within a population the average ratio of index (2D) to ring (4D) finger lengths (2D:4D) — a proxy measure of the relative degree to which offspring is exposed in utero to testosterone versus estrogen — is correlated with measures of gender inequality between nations. We compared male and female 2D:4D ratios to female parliamentary representation, labor force participation, female education level, maternal mortality rates, and juvenile pregnancy rates per nation in a sample of 29 countries. We found those nations who showed higher than expected female fetal exposure to testosterone (low 2D:4D) and lower than expected male exposure to fetal testosterone (high 2D:4D) had higher rates of female parliamentary representation, and higher female labor force participation. In short, the more similar the two sexes were in 2D:4D, the more equal were the two sexes in parliamentary and labor force participation. The other variables were not as strongly correlated. We suggest that higher than expected fetal testosterone in females and lower fetal testosterone in males may lead to high female representation in the national labor force and in parliament.

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Of Age, Sex, and Money: Insights from Corporate Officer Compensation on the Wage Inequality Between Genders

David Newton & Mikhail Simutin
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that the gender and age of the wage setter are crucial determinants of the disparity in wages between sexes. We document our findings using a data set on compensation of corporate officers that is uniquely suited for this analysis because officer wages are set by chief executive officers (CEOs). We show that CEOs pay officers of the opposite gender less than officers of their own gender, even when controlling for job characteristics. Older and male CEOs exhibit the greatest propensity to differentiate on the basis of sex. Female officers receive smaller raises if the firm is headed by a man. Our results suggest that CEO gender and age are economically more important determinants of officer compensation than are firm stock performance, stock volatility, or return on assets.

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Rethinking the Two-Body Problem: The Segregation of Women Into Geographically Dispersed Occupations

Alan Benson
Demography, October 2014, Pages 1619-1639

Abstract:
Empirical research on the family cites the tendency for couples to relocate for husbands’ careers as evidence against the gender neutrality of household economic decisions. For these studies, occupational segregation is a concern because occupations are not random by sex and mobility is not random by occupation. I find that the tendency for households to relocate for husbands’ careers is better explained by the segregation of women into geographically dispersed occupations rather than by the direct prioritization of men’s careers. Among never-married workers, women relocate for work less often than men, and the gender effect disappears after occupational segregation is accounted for. Although most two-earner families feature husbands in geographically clustered jobs involving frequent relocation for work, families are no less likely to relocate for work when it belongs to the wife. I conclude that future research in household mobility should treat occupational segregation occurring prior to marriage rather than gender bias within married couples as the primary explanation for the prioritization of husbands’ careers in household mobility decisions.

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Life Paths and Accomplishments of Mathematically Precocious Males and Females Four Decades Later

David Lubinski, Camilla Benbow & Harrison Kell
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two cohorts of intellectually talented 13-year-olds were identified in the 1970s (1972–1974 and 1976–1978) as being in the top 1% of mathematical reasoning ability (1,037 males, 613 females). About four decades later, data on their careers, accomplishments, psychological well-being, families, and life preferences and priorities were collected. Their accomplishments far exceeded base-rate expectations: Across the two cohorts, 4.1% had earned tenure at a major research university, 2.3% were top executives at “name brand” or Fortune 500 companies, and 2.4% were attorneys at major firms or organizations; participants had published 85 books and 7,572 refereed articles, secured 681 patents, and amassed $358 million in grants. For both males and females, mathematical precocity early in life predicts later creative contributions and leadership in critical occupational roles. On average, males had incomes much greater than their spouses’, whereas females had incomes slightly lower than their spouses’. Salient sex differences that paralleled the differential career outcomes of the male and female participants were found in lifestyle preferences and priorities and in time allocation.

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Phenotyping and Adolescence-to-Adulthood Transitions Among Latinos

Igor Ryabov & Franklin Goza
Race and Social Problems, December 2014, Pages 342-355

Abstract:
Phenotyping the system of prejudice and discrimination, which gives preference to European physical characteristics and devalues those of Amerindians, Africans, and Asians, affects the lives of many Latinos in the United States. This study examines the impact of phenotyping on academic and employment outcomes among Latino adolescents/young adults. Outcomes examined include the odds of graduating from high school, finding full-time employment after completing high school, and attending college. Socioeconomic status (measured at individual and school levels), family structure, quality of parent–child relationships, immigrant generational status, and other measures are included as controls. Multilevel modeling and logistic regression are utilized as analytical tools. Results indicate that, among Latinos, light skin and blue eyes are associated with better academic outcomes than having dark skin and brown eyes, while those with darker skin enter the labor market earlier than their light-skinned co-ethnics.

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Social externalities, overlap and the poverty trap

Young-Chul Kim & Glenn Loury
Journal of Economic Inequality, December 2014, Pages 535-554

Abstract:
Previous studies find that some social groups are stuck in poverty traps because of network effects. However, these studies do not carefully analyze how these groups overcome low human capital investment activities. Unlike previous studies, the model in this paper includes network externalities in both the human capital investment stage and the subsequent career stages. This implies that not only the current network quality, but also the expectations about future network quality affect the current investment decision. Consequently, the coordinated expectation among the group members can play a crucial role in the determination of the final state. We define “overlap” for some initial skill ranges, whereby the economic performance of a group can be improved simply by increasing expectations of a brighter future. We also define “poverty trap” for some ranges, wherein a disadvantaged group is constrained by its history, and we explore the egalitarian policies to mobilize the group out of the trap.

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Does Class Size Affect the Gender Gap? A Natural Experiment in Law

Daniel Ho & Mark Kelman
Journal of Legal Studies, June 2014, Pages 291-321

Abstract:
We study a unique natural experiment in which Stanford Law School randomly assigned first-year students to small or large sections of mandatory courses from 2001 to 2011. We provide evidence that assignment to small sections closed a slight (but substantively and highly statistically significant) gender gap existing in large sections from 2001 to 2008; that reforms in 2008 that modified the grading system and instituted small graded writing and simulation-intensive courses eliminated the gap entirely; and that women, if anything, outperformed men in small simulation-based courses. Our evidence suggests that pedagogical policy — particularly small class sizes — can reduce, and even reverse, achievement gaps in postgraduate education.

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Creativity from Constraint? How Political Correctness Influences Creativity in Mixed-Sex Work Groups

Jack Goncalo et al.
Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most group creativity research is premised on the assumption that creativity is unleashed by removing normative constraints. As work organizations become increasingly diverse in terms of gender, however, this assumption needs to be reconsidered since mixed-sex interactions carry a high risk of offense. Departing from the assumption that normative constraints necessarily stifle creativity, we develop a theoretical perspective in which creativity in mixed-sex groups is enhanced by imposing a norm to be politically correct (PC) — a norm that sets clear expectations for how men and women should interact with one another. We present evidence from two group experiments showing that the PC norm promotes rather than suppresses members’ free expression of ideas by reducing the uncertainty they experience in mixed-sex work groups. These results highlight a paradoxical consequence of the PC norm: A term that has been used to undermine expectations to censor offensive language as a threat to free speech actually provides a normative foundation upon which demographically heterogeneous work groups can freely exchange creative ideas. We discuss the implications of our findings for managing creativity in diverse groups and under conditions of uncertainty, and the counterintuitive role that normative constraints play in that process.

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Women and Power: Unpopular, Unwilling, or Held Back?

Pablo Casas-Arce & Albert Saiz
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use Spain’s Equality Law, which mandates a 40 percent female quota on electoral lists, to test for the existence of agency problems between party leaders and their constituents regarding women’s political representation. The law was enacted by the Social-Democratic Party after the surprise parliamentary electoral results following the Madrid terrorist bombings in 2004. It was therefore completely unexpected by local political organizations. The quota only applied to towns with populations above 5,000 and forced heterogeneous growth in the number of female candidates by party. Using pre- and post-quota data by party and municipality, we implement a triple-difference design and find that female quotas resulted in slightly better electoral results for the parties that started out with fewer women, and hence were most affected by the quota. Our evidence suggests the existence of agency problems that hinder female representation in political institutions, because party leaders were not maximizing electoral results prior to the introduction of the quota.

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Cytokine responses and math performance: The role of stereotype threat and anxiety reappraisals

Neha John-Henderson, Michelle Rheinschmidt & Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 203–206

Abstract:
This research independently manipulated two potential attenuators of stereotype threat – reappraisal of anxiety and test framing – to explore their independent and combined effects. Female participants took a difficult math exam that was described as gender-biased or gender-fair and were told that anxious arousal could positively impact performance or were given no information regarding arousal. Levels of the cytokine Interleukin-6 (IL-6), an immune marker of inflammation, were measured in oral mucosal transudate (OMT) both before and after the exam. Our findings indicate that directing reappraisal of physiological arousal attenuated increases in IL-6 across test framing conditions, and was especially effective under stereotype threat (i.e., gender-biased test condition). Reappraisal also mapped onto better test performance in the threat condition. Together, these findings provide insight into the unique and interactive effects of two situational interventions meant to reduce stereotype threat, indexed here by both physiological and performance-based correlates of threat.

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Executive Gender Pay Gaps: The Roles of Board Diversity and Female Risk Aversion

Mary Ellen Carter, Francesca Franco & Mireia Gine
Boston College Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Prior research finds mixed evidence about whether a pay gap exists between female and male executives. We examine trends in gender pay gaps and explore gender bias in the boardroom and female executives’ appetite for compensation risk as possible explanations for these gaps. Using ExecuComp and RiskMetrics data from 1996-2010, we find evidence that female executives receive significantly lower compensation levels than males but that greater female representation on boards mitigates these gaps. We also find evidence that females accept pay packages with lower compensation incentives. Unlike the gaps in compensation levels, the incentives gaps do not change over time nor does gender diversity on the board reduce these gaps. These findings are consistent with gender-specific risk aversion, as captured by ex-post equity incentives, being an innate characteristic that is not mitigated by board diversity.

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Affirmative Action and Stereotypes in Higher Education Admissions

Prasad Krishnamurthy & Aaron Edlin
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We analyze how admission policies affect stereotypes against students from disadvantaged groups. Many critics of affirmative action argue that lower admission standards cause such stereotypes and suggest group-blind admissions as a remedy. We show that when stereotypes result from social inequality, they can persist under group-blind admissions. In such cases, eliminating stereotypes perversely requires a higher admission standard for disadvantaged students. If a school seeks both to treat students equally and limit stereotypes, the optimal admission policy would still impose a higher standard on disadvantaged students. A third goal, such as equal representation, is required to justify group-blind admissions. Even when there is such a third goal, group-blind admissions are optimal only when the conflicting goals of equal representation and limiting stereotypes exactly balance. This is an implausible justification for group-blind admission because it implies that some schools desire higher standards for disadvantaged students. Schools that do not desire such higher standards will typically find some amount of affirmative action to be optimal.

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Unintended Effects of Anonymous Resumes

Luc Behaghel, Bruno Crepon & Thomas Le Barbanchon
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We evaluate an experimental program in which the French public employment service anonymized resumes for firms that were hiring. Firms were free to participate or not; participating firms were then randomly assigned to receive either anonymous resumes or name-bearing ones. We find that participating firms become less likely to interview and hire minority candidates when receiving anonymous resumes. We show how these unexpected results can be explained by the self-selection of firms into the program and by the fact that anonymization prevents the attenuation of negative signals when the candidate belongs to a minority.

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Gender Differences in the Willingness to Compete Emerge Early in Life and Persist

Matthias Sutter & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gender differences in the willingness to compete have been identified as one important factor in explaining gender differences in labor markets and within organizations. We present three experiments with a total of 1,570 subjects, ages three to 18 years, to investigate the origins of this gender gap. In a between-subjects design we find that boys are more likely to compete than girls as early as kindergarten and that this gap prevails throughout adolescence. Re-examining the behavior of 316 subjects in a within-subjects design two years later, we show that these gender differences also largely persist over a longer time period and can thus be considered stable. Controlling for subjects' abilities in the different tasks, their risk attitudes, and expected performance, the gender gap in the willingness to compete is estimated in the range of 10–20 percentage points. We discuss the implications of our findings for policy interventions and organizational management.

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Women’s Representation in Science Predicts National Gender-Science Stereotypes: Evidence From 66 Nations

David Miller, Alice Eagly & Marcia Linn
Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the past 40 years, the proportion of women in science courses and careers has dramatically increased in some nations but not in others. Our research investigated how national differences in women’s science participation related to gender-science stereotypes that associate science with men more than women. Data from ∼350,000 participants in 66 nations indicated that higher female enrollment in tertiary science education (community college or above) related to weaker explicit and implicit national gender-science stereotypes. Higher female employment in the researcher workforce related to weaker explicit, but not implicit, gender-science stereotypes. These relationships remained after controlling for many theoretically relevant covariates. Even nations with high overall gender equity (e.g., the Netherlands) had strong gender-science stereotypes if men dominated science fields specifically. In addition, the relationship between women’s educational enrollment in science and implicit gender-science stereotypes was stronger for college-educated participants than participants without college education. Implications for instructional practices and educational policies are discussed.

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The “State” of Equal Employment Opportunity Law and Managerial Gender Diversity

Julie Kmec & Sheryl Skaggs
Social Problems, November 2014, Pages 530-558

Abstract:
Women’s underrepresentation in management is a persistent social problem. We take a new approach to understanding the lack of managerial gender diversity by investigating how U.S. state equal employment opportunity laws are related to women’s presence in upper and lower management. We draw on data from 2010 EEO-1 reports documenting managerial sex composition in U.S. work establishments and a state employment law database to answer our research questions. State mandates are found to be differentially associated with upper- versus lower-level managerial gender diversity. Establishments in states with an equal pay law, or that once ratified the ERA, employ more women in upper management than those in states without such a law or in nonratifying states, but this holds only in establishments in industries that typically employ women. In contrast, establishments in states that require anti-discrimination workplace postings employ fewer women in upper-management than those in states without such a requirement. State equal pay laws, especially those adopted before federal equal pay legislation, family responsibility discrimination protections, and past ERA ratification are positively associated with women’s lower-level managerial presence. Conversely, state expanded family and medical leave coverage, prohibited sex discrimination, and specific posting rules are negatively associated with women’s presence in lower management. Results hold net of establishment, state, firm, and industry factors. We discuss the meaning behind differences across managerial level and the role of state regulation in moving toward greater managerial gender equity.

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Gender Pay Gap and Employment Sector: Sources of Earnings Disparities in the United States, 1970–2010

Hadas Mandel & Moshe Semyonov
Demography, October 2014, Pages 1597-1618

Abstract:
Using data from the IPUMS-USA, the present research focuses on trends in the gender earnings gap in the United States between 1970 and 2010. The major goal of this article is to understand the sources of the convergence in men’s and women’s earnings in the public and private sectors as well as the stagnation of this trend in the new millennium. For this purpose, we delineate temporal changes in the role played by major sources of the gap. Several components are identified: the portion of the gap attributed to gender differences in human-capital resources; labor supply; sociodemographic attributes; occupational segregation; and the unexplained portion of the gap. The findings reveal a substantial reduction in the gross gender earnings gap in both sectors of the economy. Most of the decline is attributed to the reduction in the unexplained portion of the gap, implying a significant decline in economic discrimination against women. In contrast to discrimination, the role played by human capital and personal attributes in explaining the gender pay gap is relatively small in both sectors. Differences between the two sectors are not only in the size and pace of the reduction but also in the significance of the two major sources of the gap. Working hours have become the most important factor with respect to gender pay inequality in both sectors, although much more dominantly in the private sector. The declining gender segregation may explain the decreased impact of occupations on the gender pay gap in the private sector. In the public sector, by contrast, gender segregation still accounts for a substantial portion of the gap. The findings are discussed in light of the theoretical literature on sources of gender economic inequality and in light of the recent stagnation of the trend.

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Bias in the Legal Profession: Self-Assessed versus Statistical Measures of Discrimination

Heather Antecol, Deborah Cobb-Clark & Eric Helland
Journal of Legal Studies, June 2014, Pages 323-357

Abstract:
Legal cases are won or lost on the basis of statistical discrimination measures, but workers’ perceptions of discriminatory behavior are important for understanding labor supply decisions. Workers who believe that they have been discriminated against are more likely to leave their employers, and workers’ perceptions of discrimination likely drive formal complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Yet the relationship between statistical and self-assessed measures of discrimination is far from obvious. We expand on the previous literature by using data from the After the J.D. study to compare standard Blinder-Oaxaca measures of earnings discrimination to self-reported measures of client discrimination, other work-related discrimination, and harassment. Our results indicate that conventional measures of earnings discrimination are not closely linked to the racial and gender bias that new lawyers believe they have experienced on the job. Moreover, statistical earnings discrimination does not explain the disparity in self-assessed bias across gender and racial groups.

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Inequality in Skill Development on College Campuses

Josipa Roksa
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
While patterns of inequality in access and attainment in higher education are well documented, sociologists have left largely unexplored the question of disparities in skill development during college. Following a cohort of students across 23 four-year institutions from entry into college through their senior year, we examine inequalities in development of general collegiate skills. Findings indicate that despite unequal starting points, students from less educated families gain skills at the same rate as those from more educated families. African-American students, in contrast, enter college with lower levels of general collegiate skills than their white peers and gain less over time. A substantial portion, but not all, of the African-American/white gap in general collegiate skills is explained by academic preparation and selectivity of the institutions attended. Notably, African-American and white students experience similar benefits from being academically prepared and attending more selective institutions. These findings provide valuable insights for research and policy concerned with inequality in higher education.

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Racial Wage Disparity in US Cities

Craig Kerr & Randall Walsh
Race and Social Problems, December 2014, Pages 305-327

Abstract:
This paper estimates the conditional wage gaps between black and white full-time male workers at the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) level using data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Censuses. The magnitudes of the wage gaps are found to vary substantially across location. As predicted in Becker's (The economics of discrimination, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1957) seminal theory on wage discrimination, we find that the wage gaps are greater in MSAs that have a larger proportion of black workers in the labor force. This is the most consistent result across all specifications and years. We also find the gaps to be greater where there is an overrepresented black population in jail and a more segregated population if the MSA is in the South. The proportion of workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement in the private sector is associated with greater relative black earnings. We find that although the relationship between race and wages has diminished over time as famously suggested in Wilson (The declining significance of race: Blacks and changing American institutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1978), the significance of race remains.

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Teacher (Mis)Perceptions of Preschoolers’ Academic Skills: Predictors and Associations With Longitudinal Outcomes

Courtney Baker et al.
Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Preschool teachers have important impacts on children’s academic outcomes, and teachers’ misperceptions of children’s academic skills could have negative consequences, particularly for low-income preschoolers. This study utilized data gathered from 123 preschool teachers and their 760 preschoolers from 70 low-income, racially diverse centers. Hierarchical linear modeling was utilized to account for the nested data structure. Even after controlling for children’s actual academic skill, older children, children with stronger social skills, and children with fewer inattentive symptoms were perceived to have stronger academic abilities. Contrary to hypotheses, preschoolers with more behavior problems were perceived by teachers to have significantly better pre-academic abilities than they actually had. Teachers’ perceptions were not associated with child gender or child race/ethnicity. Although considerable variability was due to teacher-level characteristics, child characteristics explained 42% of the variability in teachers’ perceptions about children’s language and preliteracy ability and 41% of the variability in teachers’ perceptions about math ability. Notably, these perceptions appear to have important impacts over time. Controlling for child baseline academic skill and child characteristics, teacher perceptions early in the preschool year were significantly associated with child academic outcomes during the spring both for language and preliteracy and for math. Study implications with regard to the achievement gap are discussed.

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Sex Hormones and Competitive Bidding

Burkhard Schipper
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We correlate competitive bidding and profits in symmetric independent private value first-price auctions with salivary testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, and cortisol in more than 200 subjects. Bids are significantly positively correlated and profits are significantly negatively correlated with basal salivary progesterone, but only for females who do not use hormonal contraceptives. Surprisingly, we have null findings for basal testosterone, estradiol, and cortisol for both males and females. We show that our finding for progesterone is not mediated by risk aversion or bidding mistakes. No hormone responds to total profits in the auctions except for a small positive response of the stress hormone cortisol in males.

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A step too far? Leader racism inhibits transgression credit

Dominic Abrams et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research established that when in-group leaders commit serious transgressions, such as breaking enforceable rules or engaging in bribery, people treat them leniently compared with similarly transgressive regular group members or out-group leaders (‘transgression credit’). The present studies test a boundary condition of this phenomenon, specifically the hypothesis that transgression credit will be lost if a leader's action implies racist motivation. In study 1, in a corporate scenario, a transgressive in-group leader did or did not express racism. In study 2, in a sports scenario, an in-group or out-group leader or member transgressed rules with or without a racist connotation. Both studies showed that in-group transgressive leaders lost their transgression credit if their transgression included a racial connotation. Wider implications for constraining leaders' transgressions are discussed.


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