Whose Opportunity

Kevin Lewis

July 23, 2020

Exposure to peers’ pro-diversity attitudes increases inclusion and reduces the achievement gap
Sohad Murrar, Mitchell Campbell & Markus Brauer
Nature Human Behaviour, forthcoming


There is a dearth of empirically validated pro-diversity methods that effectively create a more inclusive social climate. We developed two scalable interventions that target people’s perceptions of social norms by communicating to them that their peers hold pro-diversity attitudes and engage in inclusive behaviours. We tested the interventions in six randomized controlled trials at a large public university in the United States (total n = 2,490). Non-marginalized students exposed to our interventions reported more positive attitudes toward outgroups and greater appreciation of diversity, whereas marginalized students had an increased sense of belonging, reported being treated more inclusively by their peers and earned better grades. While many current pro-diversity initiatives focus on raising awareness about the fact that implicit bias and subtle discrimination are widespread, our findings spotlight the importance of drawing people’s attention to their peers’ pro-diversity values and attitudes to create positive and lasting effects on the social climate.

The effects of social bias against female analysts on markets
Pu Gu
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming


I provide evidence for the effects of social bias on markets by studying female analysts. I find that the market reaction to female analysts' forecasts is weaker and slower than that to male analysts' forecasts. I also find that female analysts' forecasts are more accurate and timely than those of male analysts. Taken together, these findings imply that female analysts are underestimated even if they have better forecasting ability than male analysts. This effect decreases when female analysts are attractive, increases when the covered firm's CEO is male and is mediated by analysts' self-confidence. These results emphasize three sources of social bias against female analysts: incompetence bias, immorality bias, and credit bias. I also employ two exogenous shocks to rule out alternative explanations and conduct robustness tests to further support my results. My findings thus highlight that social bias against females remains an issue that significantly affects the capital market.

Experimental Evidence on Teachers’ Racial Bias in Student Evaluation: The Role of Grading Scales
David Quinn
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, forthcoming


A vast research literature documents racial bias in teachers’ evaluations of students. Theory suggests bias may be larger on grading scales with vague or overly general criteria versus scales with clearly specified criteria, raising the possibility that well-designed grading policies may mitigate bias. This study offers relevant evidence through a randomized Web-based experiment with 1,549 teachers. On a vague grade-level evaluation scale, teachers rated a student writing sample lower when it was randomly signaled to have a Black author, versus a White author. However, there was no evidence of racial bias when teachers used a rubric with more clearly defined evaluation criteria. Contrary to expectation, I found no evidence that the magnitude of grading bias depends on teachers’ implicit or explicit racial attitudes.

The gender equity gap: A multistudy investigation of within-job inequality in equity-based awards
Felice Klein et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming


Laws in many countries mandate paying men and women equally when in similar jobs. Such laws, coupled with considerable organizational efforts, lead some scholars to contend that within-job pay inequality is no longer a source of the gender pay gap. We argue important differences in a widely used form of pay heretofore overlooked in existing studies—equity-based awards (i.e., pay where the value is tied to the employing organization’s stock, such as stock and stock options)—may cause underestimation of gender-based within-job pay inequality. Specifically, we theorize that because of differences in both why and how equity-based awards are distributed to employees compared to other forms of pay, a gender gap will exist in equity-based awards, with biased perceptions of retention driving the gap. Using a multimethod study with novel data from two technology organizations, archival data from publicly traded firms, and experimental data, we find consistent support for our hypotheses. Taken together, our results suggest that using equity-based awards as a means to retain employees, and the rationale and processes associated with distributing such pay, can result in gender-based within-job inequality. Thus, our study sheds light on a previously overlooked form of inequality in the workplace while offering implications for both theory and practice.

Interracial contact at work: Does workplace diversity reduce bias?
Sean Darling-Hammond, Randy Lee & Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming


Research suggests that anti-Black bias among White Americans is persistent, pervasive, and has powerful negative effects on the lives of both Black and White Americans. Research also suggests that intergroup contact in workplaces can reduce bias. We seek to address two limitations in prior research. First, the workplaces reviewed in prior studies may not be typical. Second, previously observed relationships between workplace contact and bias may stem from selection bias — namely, that White individuals who tend to work with Black individuals are systematically different from those who do not, and those systematic differences explain lower bias levels. To address these issues, we review records (N = 3,359) of White, non-Hispanic, working adults in a nationally representative survey to examine the relationship between workplace contact and racial closeness bias after adjusting for an exhaustive set of potential confounders. Using propensity score matching, we compare individuals who work with Black individuals with their “virtual twins” — individuals who have the same propensity of working with Black individuals but do not. We estimate that having a Black coworker causes a statistically significant reduction in racial closeness bias for White, non-Hispanic adults.

Gender Differences in the Choice of Major: The Importance of Female Role Models
Catherine Porter & Danila Serra
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, July 2020, Pages 226-254


We conducted a field experiment aimed at increasing the percentage of women majoring in economics. We exposed students enrolled in introductory classes to successful and charismatic women who majored in economics at the same university. The intervention significantly impacted female students' enrollment in further economics classes, increasing their likelihood to major in economics by 8 percentage points. This is a large effect, given that only 9 percent of women were majoring in economics at baseline. Since the impacted women were previously planning to major in lower-earning fields, our low-cost intervention may have a positive effect on their future incomes.

Incivility and creativity in teams: Examining the role of perpetrator gender
Daphna Motro, Trevor Spoelma & Aleksander Ellis
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming


We conduct 3 experiments to examine how the effects of incivility on team creativity through team positive affect differ depending on the gender of the incivil team member. We argue that the incivil behavior of 1 team member decreases team positive affect, thereby decreasing team creativity. We then propose that the gender of the incivil team member plays a significant role in team member reactions. We draw on role congruity theory, which posits that individuals respond positively toward those whom they perceive as adhering to societal norms, and negatively to those who do not. Accordingly, we found that team positive affect decreased significantly when a woman behaved incivilly compared with when a man behaved incivilly due to the agentic and aggressive nature of the behavior. Lower team positive affect then decreased team creativity. Interestingly, team positive affect was not affected when a man behaved incivilly. We consider the implications of our work across several different literatures and discuss interesting directions for future research.

Outperforming yet undervalued: Undergraduate women in STEM
Brittany Bloodhart et al.
PLoS ONE, June 2020


In spite of efforts to increase gender diversity across many science fields, women continue to encounter beliefs that they lack ability and talent. Undergraduate education is a critical time when peer influence may alter choice of majors and careers for women interested in science. Even in life science courses, in which women outnumber men, gender biases that emerge in peer-to-peer interactions during coursework may detract from women’s interest and progress. This is the first study of which we are aware to document that women are outperforming men in both physical and life science undergraduate courses at the same institution, while simultaneously continuing to be perceived as less-able students. This is problematic because undergraduate women may not be able to escape gender-ability stereotypes even when they are outperforming men, which has important implications for 1) the recognition of women’s achievements among their peers in undergraduate education and 2) retention of women in STEM disciplines and careers.

Illusory gender-equality paradox, math self-concept, and frame-of-reference effects: New integrative explanations for multiple paradoxes
Herbert Marsh et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming


Gender-equality paradoxes (GEPs) posit that gender gaps in math self-concepts (MSCs) are larger — not smaller — in countries with greater gender equality. These paradoxical results suggest that efforts to improve gender equality might be counterproductive. However, we show that this currently popular explanation of gender differences is an illusory, epi-phenomenon (485,490 students, 18,292 schools, 68 countries/regions). Between-country (absolute) measures of gender equality are confounded with achievement and socioeconomic-status; tiny GEPs disappear when controlling achievement and socioeconomic-status. Critically, even without controls GEPs are not supported when using true gender-gap measures — within-country (relative) female-male differences, that hold many confounds constant. This absolute/relative-gap distinction is more important than the composite/domain-specific distinction for understanding why even tiny GEPs are illusory. Recent developments in academic self-concept theory are relevant to GEPs and gender differences, but also explain other, related paradoxes. The big-fish little pond effect posits that attending schools with high school-average math achievements leads to lower MSCs. Extending this theoretical model to the country-level, we show that countries with high country-average math achievements also have lower MSCs. Dimensional comparison theory predicts that MSCs are positively predicted by math achievements but negatively predicted by verbal achievements. Extending this theoretical model, we show that girls’ low MSCs are due more to girls’ high verbal achievements that detract from their MSCs than to their low math achievements. In support of the pan-human wide generalizability of our findings, our cross-national results generalize over 68 country/regions as well as multiple math self-belief constructs (self-efficacy, anxiety, interest, utility, future plans) and multiple gender-equality measures.

Bias in the Air: A Nationwide Exploration of Teachers’ Implicit Racial Attitudes, Aggregate Bias, and Student Outcomes
Mark Chin et al.
Educational Researcher, forthcoming


Theory suggests that teachers’ implicit racial attitudes affect their students, but large-scale evidence on U.S. teachers’ implicit biases and their correlates is lacking. Using nationwide data from Project Implicit, we found that teachers’ implicit White/Black biases (as measured by the implicit association test) vary by teacher gender and race. Teachers’ adjusted bias levels are lower in counties with larger shares of Black students. In the aggregate, counties in which teachers hold higher levels of implicit and explicit racial bias have larger adjusted White/Black test score inequalities and White/Black suspension disparities.

Racialized emotion recognition accuracy and anger bias of children’s faces
Amy Halberstadt et al.
Emotion, forthcoming


Research suggests that individuals are racially biased when judging the emotions of others (Elfenbein & Ambady, 2002) and particularly regarding attributions about the emotion of anger (Halberstadt, Castro, Chu, Lozada, & Sims, 2018; Hugenberg & Bodenhausen, 2003). Systematic, balanced designs are rare, and are comprised of adults viewing adults. The present study expands the questions of racialized emotion recognition accuracy and anger bias to the world of children. Findings that adults demonstrate either less emotion accuracy and/or greater anger bias for Black versus White children could potentially explain some of the large racialized disciplinary discrepancies in schools. To test whether racialized emotion recognition accuracy and anger bias toward children exists, we asked 178 prospective teachers to complete an emotion recognition task comprised of 72 children’s facial expressions depicting six emotions and divided equally by race (Black, White) and gender (female, male). We also assessed implicit bias via the child race Implicit Association Test and explicit bias via questionnaire. Multilevel modeling revealed nuanced racialized emotion recognition accuracy with a race by gender interaction, but clear racialized anger bias toward both Black boys and girls. Both Black boys and Black girls were falsely seen as angry more often than White boys and White girls. Higher levels of either implicit or explicit bias did not increase odds of Black children being victim to anger bias, but instead decreased odds that White children would be misperceived as angry. Implications for addressing preexisting biases in teacher preparation programs and by children and parents are discussed.

A Level Playing Field? Empirical Evidence That Ethnic Minority Analysts Face Unequal Access to Corporate Managers
Rachel Flam et al.
Texas A&M University Working Paper, June 2020


Given the lack of diversity among senior executives of U.S. public companies, we investigate whether ethnic minority analysts face unique barriers to management access. We find managers are less likely to select minority analysts to participate in the Q&A session of public earnings conference calls, and minority analysts selected to participate receive lower levels of prioritization and engagement than non-minority analysts. Minority analysts’ access to management does not improve over time or with companies recognized for workplace diversity. The consequences of unequal treatment extend beyond conference calls, as investors are less likely to vote for minorities as Institutional Investor All-Stars.

Gender and Executive Job Mobility: Evidence from Mergers and Acquisitions
Xiaohu Guo et al.
University of Alabama Working Paper, May 2020


The increasing presence of women in executive positions has fostered interest in understanding how men and women fare in the managerial labor market. We examine gender differences in managerial job mobility by focusing on managers displaced (almost 90%) when their firms are acquired. Comparing labor market outcomes for similarly-ranked managers from the same target firm and within the same functional area, we find that career disruption results in a larger drop in rank for female managers, despite similar job search efforts. Gender differences are moderated for managers hired by firms with more women in upper echelon positions. Women with rich prior managerial experience and service on external boards also fare well. Our results point to a significant (implicit) ‘gender penalty’ for women in terms of managerial job mobility, but also indicate contexts in which the penalty may be alleviated, and even reversed.


Dual pathways to bias: Evaluators’ ideology and ressentiment independently predict racial discrimination in hiring contexts
Tania Reynolds et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming


Despite organizations’ professed commitment to fairness, thousands of employees file race-based discrimination claims every year. The current article examines how people deviate from impartiality when evaluating candidates in hiring decisions. Researchers have argued the ideological endorsement of elitism (i.e., scoring high in social dominance orientation) can lead to discrimination against racial minorities. We examined whether an opposing ideological commitment — egalitarianism — can also produce partiality, but in favor of minority applicants. Inspired by dual processing models and Nietzsche’s philosophical theorizing, we also forwarded and tested a novel, affective predictor of racial biases in evaluation: ressentiment toward the socially powerful. Across 4 studies, we found evaluators’ ideologies and ressentiment independently shaped evaluations of equally qualified candidates in hiring contexts. Participants who endorsed elitism showed a preference for White candidates, whereas those who endorsed egalitarianism evaluated Black candidates more favorably. Individuals who experienced stronger ressentiment toward the social elite also preferred Black over White applicants. Studies 3 and 4 tested and supported a novel intervention — inducing a calculative mindset — as a method for attenuating evaluators’ ideological and ressentiment driven impartiality.


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