Their opportunity

Kevin Lewis

December 14, 2017

The Baby Boomer bias: The negative impact of generational labels on older workers
Cody Cox et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming


While generational labels (e.g., Baby Boomers) are popular in the media, few studies have explored whether using these labels leads to discrimination against older workers. Using an inbox task, we examined whether the label “Baby Boomer” led older workers to be viewed more negatively than the label “older employee” in four workplace scenarios. Data were collected from 304 management students (mean age = 30.92 years, SD = 9.21). Individuals identified as Baby Boomers were viewed more negatively across all four different scenarios and this effect was modified by social dominance orientation and power distance orientation in the hiring scenarios. Overall, our results suggest the use of generational labels such as Baby Boomers may negatively impact the workplace experiences of older workers.

Gender Disparities in Medical Student Research Awards: A Thirteen-Year Study From the Yale School of Medicine
Joseph King et al.
Academic Medicine, forthcoming

Purpose: Instruction in research conduct is currently required, and many U.S. medical schools require students to complete a research project. Each year all Yale School of Medicine (YSM) graduating students submit a research thesis, and ~5% are awarded highest honors. Gender disparities exist in areas related to physician research productivity, including academic rank, research funding, and publications. The authors asked whether gender disparities exist for medical student research.

Method: The authors conducted a retrospective review of 1,120 theses submitted by graduating medical students from 2003–2015 at YSM and collected data on gender, mentoring, research type, sponsoring department, and other characteristics. Multivariate logistic regression modeling examined gender differences in medical student research awards.

Results: Women authored 50.9% of theses, but earned only 30.9% of highest honors awards (OR 0.41, 95% CI: 0.23, 0.74). Among factors associated with increased receipt of highest honors that differed by gender, men were more likely than women to work with a mentor with a history of 3 or more thesis honorees, take a fifth year of study, secure competitive research funding, undertake an MD–Master of Health Science degree, and conduct laboratory research (for all, P < .001). After adjustment for these factors, and for underrepresented in medicine status and sponsoring department, women remained less likely to receive highest honors (OR 0.51, 95% CI: 0.27, 0.98).

Are Early Stage Investors Biased Against Women?
Michael Ewens & Richard Townsend
Caltech Working Paper, October 2017


We examine whether male investors are biased against female entrepreneurs. To do so, we use a proprietary dataset from AngelList covering fundraising startups. We find that female founders are less successful with male investors compared to observably similar male founders. In contrast, the same female founders are more successful than male founders with female investors. The results do not appear to be driven by differences across founder gender in startup quality, sector focus, or risk. Given that investors are predominately male, our results suggest that an increase in female investors is likely necessary to support an increase in female entrepreneurship.

Preference for Second-Generation African Immigrants Over Native-Born Black Americans: A College Admission Simulation
Asia McCleary-Gaddy & Carol Miller
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming


Two studies examined preferences for second-generation African immigrants over Black American natives in a college admission simulation. Study 1 showed that a Black American native applicant was less likely to be admitted when his competitor was a second-generation African immigrant applicant relative to a White American competitor. Study 2 showed that this preference did not occur when the two applicants of color were not in competition. Stereotypes and perceived SES did not explain these findings. Discussion suggests that accepting second-generation African immigrants may cover for prejudice by providing a socially desirable alternative to accepting Black American native applicants.

Positive Feedback From Male Authority Figures Boosts Women’s Math Outcomes
Lora Park et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming


People often search for cues in the environment to determine whether or not they will be judged or treated negatively based on their social identities. Accordingly, feedback from gatekeepers — members of majority groups who hold authority and power in a field — may be an especially important cue for those at risk of experiencing social identity threat, such as women in math settings. Across a series of studies, women who received positive (“Good job!”) versus objective (score only) feedback from a male (vs. female) authority figure in math reported greater confidence; belonging; self-efficacy; more favorable Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) attitudes/identification/interest; and greater implicit identification with math. Men were affected only by the type of math feedback they received, not by the source of feedback. A meta-analysis across studies confirmed results. Together, these findings suggest that positive feedback from gatekeepers is an important situational cue that can improve the outcomes of negatively stereotyped groups.

Performance Pay, the Gender Gap, and Specialization within Marriage
John Heywood & Daniel Parent
Journal of Labor Research, December 2017, Pages 387–427


We show that the large gender earnings gap at the top of the distribution (the glass ceiling) and the motherhood penalty are associated with each other and that both are uniquely associated with performance pay. These patterns appear consistent with specialization by gender. We show that among married couples with children, the hours worked by wives are strongly and persistently negatively correlated with earnings of the husbands only when those husbands work in performance pay jobs. There is no correlation between husbands’ hours and wives’ earnings.

Women Working for Women: Career Advancement and the Gender Wage Gap in the U.S. Federal Government
Maria Droganova
Clemson University Working Paper, November 2017


This paper investigates how female leadership affects the gender wage gap in the U. S. federal government. Using a unique dataset from the Office of Personnel Management, I track careers of civilian employees from 1988 to 2011. I find that in offices where all supervisors are men, male wages are on average 10.6% higher than female wages. In contrast, in offices where all supervisors are women, the wage gap in favor of men disappears and becomes 3.2% in favor of women due to a 7.1% increase in female wages and a 6.7% decline in male wages. Also, the gender of an executive (a higher level supervisor) has a lesser impact on wages than the gender of regular supervisors. However, the gender of an executive has a greater impact on wages of supervisors than on wages of non-supervisors, which is consistent with the theory of mentorship. I account for potential endogeneity caused by a non-random assignment of supervisors by using office fixed effects and an instrumental variable based on retirement. Finally, I investigate potential mechanisms by examining promotions, exits, starting, and exiting positions.

Segregation across Workplaces and the Motherhood Wage Gap: Why Do Mothers Work in Low-Wage Establishments?
Sylvia Fuller
Social Forces, forthcoming


While maternal employment has become the norm in advanced industrial nations, gendered norms of parenting and employment disadvantage mothers in the labor force. This paper sheds new light on motherhood pay gaps by investigating the contribution of an understudied dynamic — mothers’ overrepresentation in low-paying workplaces. Estimating between- and within-establishment wage gaps with nationally representative Canadian linked employer-employee data reveals that segregation in low-paying establishments accounts for the bulk of mothers’ wage disadvantage relative to childless women. Pay gaps net of human capital differences are not chiefly a result of mothers’ lower wages vis-à-vis similar women in a given workplace, but rather stem from the fact that mothers are disproportionately employed in workplaces that pay all employees relatively poorly. Having identified the importance of between-establishment segregation, additional analyses probe support for two theories about underlying mechanisms: compensating differentials tied to family-supportive work contexts, and discrimination. While each plays a role, evidence is strongest for discrimination, with organizational characteristics that tend to reduce opportunities for discrimination also dramatically reducing or eliminating motherhood pay gaps.

Let the girls learn! It is not only about math ... it's about gender social norms
Núria Rodríguez-Planas & Natalia Nollenberger
Economics of Education Review, February 2018, Pages 230-253


Using PISA test scores from 11,527 second-generation immigrants coming from 35 different countries of ancestry and living in 9 host countries, we find that the positive effects of country-of-ancestry gender social norms on girls’ math test scores relative to those of boys expand to other subjects (namely reading and science). We further find that gender norms shaped by beliefs on women's political empowerment and economic opportunity affect the gender gaps in test scores in general. Interestingly, gender norms do not seem to particularly influence math-related stereotypes, but instead, preferences for math. Finally, the evidence indicates that these findings are driven by cognitive skills, suggesting that social gender norms affect parent's expectations on girls’ academic knowledge relative to that of boys, but not on other attributes for success — such as non-cognitive skills. Taken together, our results highlight the relevance of general (as opposed to math-specific) gender stereotypes on the math gender gap.

Oscars So White: Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Social Issues in U.S. Documentary Films (2008-2017)
Caty Borum Chattoo
Mass Communication and Society, forthcoming


Recent public backlash about diversity in the scripted U.S. entertainment industry has been reflected under the viral #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. Despite the heightened importance of contemporary independent documentary films as reflections of social justice challenges, the #OscarsSoWhite scrutiny has ignored nonfiction storytelling. Using content analysis, this study examined the first decade of Oscar-shortlisted documentary feature films (N = 150) distributed in the streaming digital era (2008–2017) to assess racial, ethnic and gender diversity among credited directors (N = 190) and producers (N = 1,027); the extent to which Oscar-shortlisted nonfiction feature films reflect social issues; and contemporary audience distribution availability. Over 10 years, contemporary Academy-Award-shortlisted documentaries were overwhelmingly created by white, male directors and producers, and they were more likely to spotlight social justice topics than to portray purely entertaining narratives. This study draws from feminist and critical race theories to analyze the societal value of inclusion in the nonfiction storytelling business, given increased audience access to digital-era documentaries, as well as the dominance of the social-issue documentary genre as a means of counter-storytelling. Implications and future research directions for documentary industry professionals and scholars are discussed.

The Effect of Court-Ordered Hiring Guidelines on Teacher Composition and Student Achievement
Cynthia (CC) DuBois & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
NBER Working Paper, December 2017


This paper examines the effect of a court-ordered hiring guidelines intended to increase the share of black teachers employed in a school district in Louisiana. We find that the court-ordered hiring policy significantly increased the share of teachers who are black in the district relative to the rest of the state, and to a matched synthetic control sample. The policy also increased the share of new teachers hired who are black, and decreased the student-teacher representation gap, defined as the difference in enrollment share black among students and teachers in a district. There were increases in the share of black teachers observed in both predominately white and predominately black schools in the district. The policy had no measurable impacts — either positive or negative — on district-level measures of student achievement.

The Impact of Demographic Representation on Absences and Suspensions
Stephen Holt & Seth Gershenson
Policy Studies Journal, forthcoming


Representative bureaucracy theory is central to public administration scholarship due to the likely relationship between the demographic composition of the public workforce and both the actual and perceived performance of public organizations. Primary school classrooms provide an ideal context in which to test the predictions of representative bureaucracy theory at the micro (student) level. Specifically, as parents have at least some agency over primary school students’ daily attendance, absences partially reflect parental assessments of their child's school, classroom, and teacher. Ensuring students attend school each day represents an effort at coproduction on the part of parents. The representativeness of the teacher workforce, and specifically that of the student's classroom teacher, is therefore likely to influence student absenteeism. Similarly, student suspensions reflect students’ relationships with their teacher, students’ comfort level in the classroom, and teachers’ discretion in the referral of misbehavior. These academically and socially important outcomes provide convenient, objective measures of behaviors that are likely influenced by street-level representation. Using longitudinal student-level administrative data from North Carolina, we use a two-way (student and classroom) fixed effects strategy to identify the impact of student–teacher demographic mismatch on primary school students’ absences and suspensions. We find that representation among street-level bureaucrats significantly decreases both absenteeism and suspensions and that these effects can be given a causal interpretation. This pushes literature forward by establishing the importance of demographic representation in shaping productive relationships between individual bureaucrats and clients.

Collective Reputation and the Dynamics of Statistical Discrimination
Young-Chul Kim & Glenn Loury
International Economic Review, forthcoming


Economists have developed theoretical models identifying self-fulfilling expectations as an important source of statistical discrimination practices. The static models dominating the literature, however, may leave the false impression that a bad equilibrium is as fragile as a “bubble” and can burst at any moment when expectations flip. By developing a dynamic version of the model, we clarify the limits of expectations-related fragility. Even if group members can coordinate their expectations about future employer behavior, a group with a poor initial collective reputation may still be unable to recover its reputation, implying that the once-developed discriminatory outcomes can be long-standing.

The Obama effect? Inspiration and ACT scores
Patrick Gourley
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming


After Barack Obama’s 2008 election to the presidency of the United States, many predicted that the first Black president would inspire a generation of Black Americans, especially students. While stories of Obama inspiring individuals to overachieve are common, it remains to be seen if there was a systemic shift in Black student achievement after Obama’s election. Given the persistent racial score gap between Blacks and Whites on standardized tests, it is important to know if an inspirational figure could have a significant impact. Using ACT data from Chicago Public Schools, I find there is no evidence that Obama’s election had an impact on Black test scores. The racial ACT gap has been increasing since the beginning of the 21st century, and that trend continued after Obama was elected.


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