ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

Strength in Numbers: A Field Experiment in Gender, Influence, and Group Dynamics

Friday, April 9, 2021 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Online Location, Zoom Meeting

The ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory of the Spring 2021 semester will feature:

Olga Stoddard

Brigham Young University

Strength in Numbers: A Field Experiment in Gender, Influence, and Group Dynamics

 

Please contact ICES Office Manager (sbahabib@gmu.edu) for Zoom link.

 

Abstract

Policy interventions to increase women’s presence in labor force settings vary in their intensity, and much is unknown about how the resulting group gender compositions influence individuals’ experiences and broader workplace dynamics. We investigate whether lone women are disadvantaged compared to women on majority-women teams. We conducted a multi-year field experiment with a top-10 undergraduate accounting program that randomized the gender composition of semester-long teams. Using laboratory, survey, and administrative data, we find that even after accounting for their proportion in the group, lone women are seen as less influential by their peers and are less likely to be chosen to represent the group than women on majority-women teams. Women in both conditions are less able to shape decisions than similar men. Over time, the gap in peer assessments of general group influence between lone and other women shrinks, but this improvement does not carry over to task-specific assessments.  Lone women’s decreased authority is driven primarily by men’s behavior. And, their influence in a group is uncorrelated with task proficiency or the amount they speak in deliberations. Our findings cast significant doubt on the idea that women can solve influence gaps by “leaning in.”

 

For more information about the Seminar Series, please visit the Seminar Schedule homepage.