Equilibrium fictions, societal rigidity, and affirmative action
Karla Hoff 24 April 2012
For some, affirmative action is righting one wrong by committing a wrong against another group. But this column presents new theory and evidence suggesting that the influence of social stigma on a person’s self-confidence, self-development and their ultimate success should not be ignored.
India’s experience with quotas for women in public office suggests that within a generation, exposure to women leaders can erase the bias in men’s evaluation of female compared to male leaders and lift parents’ and girls’ aspirations by enough to close the gender gap in literacy (Beaman et al. 2009, 2012). Yet affirmative action sits uneasily with the values of individualism. Some argue that affirmative action aims to right a wrong against one group by a policy that wrongs a different group. Since two wrongs don’t make a right, affirmative action makes no sense.
Poverty and income inequality
affirmative action, India, race, sexism, caste
Shaping risk preferences across time
Alison Booth, Patrick Nolen, Lina Cardona Sosa 20 February 2012
Some blame women’s under-representation in high-level jobs on differences between the sexes in risk aversion and competition. But are these differences in behaviour hardwired or learned? This column describes a study that tackles this thorny question with a controlled experiment in single-sex and mixed classrooms in a British university. Women are found to become far less nervous about uncertainty over time with the men out of the room.
The majority of experimental studies investigating gender differences in risky choices find that women are less willing to take risks than men. This research is summarised in Eckel and Grossman (2008) and Croson and Gneezy (2009). However, these experimental studies investigating gender differences in risky choices typically do so only at a single point in time.
Frontiers of economic research Gender Labour markets
competition, risk aversion, sexism
Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomised natural experiment
Natalia Zinovyeva, Manuel F. Bagues 19 December 2010
Several countries have recently introduced gender quotas in hiring and promotion committees at universities. Evidence from promotions in the Spanish university system suggests that quotas are only effective at increasing the number of successful female applicants in promotions to top positions. This column argues that, given that sitting on committees reduces the available time for research, gender quotas should be implemented only for more senior academic positions.
Women have historically been under-represented in top academic positions. For years, this under-representation was partly the result of the smaller number of women obtaining doctorates. Currently, women account for about half of PhD graduates, but the increased presence of women at the lower rungs of the academic ladder has not translated into proportional increases in the presence of women at the top, particularly among full professors. For instance, in Spain, the presence of women among PhD graduates has grown from 36% to 49% over the last 20 years.
gender, academia, sexism
Can gender differences in competition explain the achievement gap?
Christopher Cotton, Frank McIntyre, Joseph Price 21 October 2010
Around the world, the pay and achievement gap between men and women remains significant, as shown by last week’s Global Gender Gap Report. This column explores whether this gap can be explained by attitudes towards competition. Using experimental evidence from math quiz competitions in primary schools, it finds that while males respond better to competition initially, this advantage is short-lived, as females are just as responsive over time.
Last week the World Economic Forum released its Global Gender Gap Report (Hausmann et al. 2010). As expected, the data in the report illustrates a significant and persistent pay and achievement gap between males and females around the world.
Labour Markets, competition, Discrimination, gender gap, sexism