ICES Experimental Economics Brown Bag Lecture

Using (merit-based) default to reduce gender gaps in contribution of ideas: Evidence from an online experiment

Friday, April 19, 2024 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Vernon Smith Hall (formerly Metropolitan Building), Room 5075

The Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES) presents an ICES Brown Bag Lecture featuring:

Shan Gui

George Mason University

Using (merit-based) default to reduce gender gaps in contribution of ideas: Evidence from an online experiment

 

 

 

Abstract

Under-representation of qualified women in contributing ideas to the group is pervasive in many workplaces, especially in male-stereotyped fields. We develop and test using laboratory experiments an easily-implementable default (opt-out) approach to reducing this gender gap in environments with varying gender stereotypes. We consider both non-merit based defaults where people are randomly defaulted to the leading position to contribute (from which they can opt-out), as well as merit-based defaults where people’s default position is determined by their skill and ability. We find that defaults have large and significant effects on people's willingness to contribute ideas, regardless of whether they are merit-based. The effect is especially large for women, who also demonstrate significant gains in confidence when the default is based on merit. We find little evidence, however, that defaults mitigate stereotype bias in the willingness to contribute. In particular, defaults lead women to be more likely to contribute in all areas, but still relatively less in male- than female-stereotyped environments.

 

For more information about the Brown Bag Lectures, please visit the Brown Bag Schedule homepage.

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