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Jel Classification:J16 

Working Paper
Affirmative action and stereotype threat
In spite of the apparent success of affirmative action (AA) in the past, many oppose such policies. Opponents argue that the cost of attaining proportional representation by preferential policies is too high, reducing the quality of selected groups and stigmatizing members of the protected class. One way in which preferential policies might harm groups they are designed to benefit is by producing stereotype threat; that is, cueing a negative stereotype may lead individuals to conform to it. AA, by definition, singles out disadvantaged groups and therefore may unintentionally remind beneficiaries of relevant negative stereotypes and prime a stereotype threat effect. This paper investigates experimentally whether gender-based affirmative action, in the form of a quota, may have this unintended consequence. Using quantitative Graduate Record Examination (GRE) questions, we find that while affirmative action has a positive effect on the performance of non-high-ability women, it negatively affects high-ability women in our sample. Interestingly, there is no evidence that women (of any ability level) in the sample exert less effort under AA or in single-sex competition, or would benefit by doing so. Hence, these findings are consistent with affirmative action having an unintended negative consequence due to stereotype threat. Interestingly, men are not affected by the affirmative action policy regardless of their measured ability in this task. These results should be taken with caution, as this is the first study looking at the stereotype threat effect of AA.
AUTHORS: Conell-Price, Lynn; Bracha, Anat; Cohen, Alma
DATE: 2013-09-01

Working Paper
The influence of gender and income on the household division of financial responsibility
This paper studies how gender and income dynamics influence the division of responsibility in two-adult households for various activities, including those tasks directly related to financial decisionmaking. The data, from the 2012 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice, consist of the respondents? categorical self-assessments of their individual levels of responsibility for various tasks. A data construct, in which some households have both adults participate in the survey, is exploited to develop a penalized latent variable model that accounts for systemic response errors. The data reveal that that women, even when they are the primary earner, are much more likely than men to have the major responsibility for household shopping and bill paying. With regard to financial decisionmaking, however, there is a greater propensity to share responsibility equally, and income ranking is more important than gender in defining household roles, with higher earners more likely to have a larger share of responsibility.
AUTHORS: Hitczenko, Marcin
DATE: 2016-10-17

Working Paper
Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture
The preference of microfinance institutions for women borrowers is generally attributed to two reasons: women borrowers are more trustworthy and have greater social impact. However, the role of social trust with regard to this gender preference has not been adequately investigated. Controlling for the social outreach goals of MFIs, we document that MFIs favor women more in low trust countries, suggesting that women are targeted to offset low social trust. We also examine how the nature of trust formation affects this relationship between gender targeting and trust. Our results should be of considerable interest to policymakers and scholars.
AUTHORS: Goodell, John; Aggarwal, Raj
DATE: 2013-12-01

Working Paper
Racial Gaps in Labor Market Outcomes in the Last Four Decades and over the Business Cycle
We examine racial disparities in key labor market outcomes for men and women over the past four decades, with a special emphasis on their evolution over the business cycle. Blacks have substantially higher and more cyclical unemployment rates than whites, and observable characteristics can explain very little of this differential, which is importantly driven by a comparatively higher risk of job loss. In contrast, the Hispanic-white unemployment rate gap is comparatively small and is largely explained by lower educational attainment of (mostly foreign-born) Hispanics. Regarding labor force participation, the remarkably low participation rate of black men is largely unexplained by observables, is mostly driven by high labor force exit rates from employment, and has shown little improvement over the last 40 years. Furthermore, even among those who work, blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to work part-time schedules despite wanting to work additional hour s, and the racial gaps in this involuntary part-time employment are large even after controlling for observable characteristics. Our findings also suggest that the robust recovery of the labor market in the last few years has contributed significantly to reducing the gaps that had widened dramatically as a result of the Great Recession; however, the disparities remain substantial.
AUTHORS: Cajner, Tomaz; Radler, Tyler; Ratner, David; Vidangos, Ivan
DATE: 2017-06-30

Working Paper
Speaking for Herself: Changing Gender Roles in Survey Response
Among married and cohabiting couples, the percentage of female respondents has increased substantially in the PSID (Panel Study of Income Dynamics) from 9% in 1968 to 60% in 2015. This shift in gender composition has taken place despite a formal policy that historically designated male heads of household as respondents. We use this shift as a case study to explore which characteristics are associated with women responding to the PSID and how different respondent gender compositions may affect data quality. First, we find that women are increasingly less likely to respond as their husband?s income increases or if their husband is highly educated. Women are more likely to respond if they are more educated than their husband. {{p}} Second, we find that male respondents tend to report incomes about $5,000 higher than female respondents. Had the gender composition of respondents been closer to 50/50, average household income would have been reduced by as much as $2,500. Our research provides important insights into the quality of survey data and the changing role of women in households.
AUTHORS: Oksol, Amy; Minhas, Sabrina
DATE: 2019-02-28

Journal Article
The Uneven Recovery in Prime-Age Labor Force Participation
The labor force participation rate of prime-age individuals (age 25 to 54) in the United States declined dramatically during and after the Great Recession. Although the prime-age labor force participation rate has been increasing since mid-2015, it remains below its pre-recession level. Understanding the reasons for this decline requires detailed analysis; aggregate statistics on labor force participation may mask potential differences in labor market outcomes by sex or educational attainment. {{p}} Didem Tzemen and Thao Tran identify these differences, finding that prime-age men and women without a college degree experienced larger declines in their labor force participation rates during the recession than their college-educated counterparts. The disappearance of routine jobs over the last few decades may explain these declines. In addition, they find that only prime-age women with a college degree have seen their labor force participation rate fully recover to its pre-recession level, although their participation rate remains well below that of both college-educated and non-college-educated men.
AUTHORS: Tran, Thao; Tuzemen, Didem
DATE: 2019-07

Gender discrimination and social identity: experimental evidence from urban Pakistan
Gender discrimination in South Asia is a well-documented fact. However, gender is only one of an individual?s many identities. This paper investigates how gender discrimination depends on the social identities of interacting parties. We use an experimental approach to identify gender discrimination by randomly matching 2,836 male and female students pursuing bachelor?s-equivalent degrees in three different types of institutions?Madrassas (religious seminaries), Islamic universities, and liberal universities?that represent distinct identities within the Pakistani society. Our main finding is that gender discrimination is not uniform in intensity and nature across the educated Pakistani society and varies as a function of the social identity of both individuals who interact. While we find no evidence of higher-socioeconomic-status men discriminating against women, men of lower socioeconomic status and higher religiosity tend to discriminate against women--but only women of lower socioeconomic status who are closest to them in social distance. Moreover, this discrimination is largely taste-based. Our findings suggest that social policies aimed at empowering women need to account for the intersectionality of gender with social identity.
AUTHORS: Delavande, Adeline; Zafar, Basit
DATE: 2013

Human capital investments and expectations about career and family
This paper studies how individuals believe human capital investments will affect their future career and family life. We conducted a survey of high-ability currently enrolled college students and elicited beliefs about how their choice of college major, and whether to complete their degree at all, would affect a wide array of future events, including future earnings, employment, marriage prospects, potential spousal characteristics, and fertility. We find that students perceive large ?returns" to human capital not only in their own future earnings, but also in a number of other dimensions (such as future labor supply and potential spouse?s earnings). In a recent follow-up survey conducted six years after the initial data collection, we find a close connection between the expectations and current realizations. Finally, we show that both the career and family expectations help explain human capital choices.
AUTHORS: Zafar, Basit; Wiswall, Matthew
DATE: 2016-08-01

The gender gap in mathematics: evidence from a middle-income country
Using a large administrative data set from Chile, we find that, on average, boys perform better than girls in mathematics. In this paper, we document several features of their relative performance. First, we note that the gender gap appears to increase with age (it doubles between fourth grade and eighth grade). Second, we test whether commonly proposed explanations such as parental background and investment in the child, unobserved ability, and classroom environment (including teacher gender) help explain a substantial portion of the gap. While none of these explanations help in explaining a large portion of the gender gap, we show that boys and girls differ significantly in perceptions about their own ability in math. Conditional on math scores, girls are much more likely to state that they dislike math, or find math difficult, compared to boys. We highlight differences in self-assessed ability as areas for future research that might lead to a better understanding of the gender gap in math.
AUTHORS: Bharadwaj, Prashant; De Giorgi, Giacomo; Hansen, David; Neilson, Christopher
DATE: 2015-04-01

Gender and dynamic agency: theory and evidence on the compensation of top executives
We document three new facts about gender differences in executive compensation. First, female executives receive a lower share of incentive pay in total compensation relative to males. This difference accounts for 93 percent of the gender gap in total pay. Second, the compensation of female executives displays lower pay-performance sensitivity. A $1 million increase in firm value generates a $17,150 increase in firm-specific wealth for male executives and a $1,670 increase for females. Third, female executives are more exposed to bad firm performance and less exposed to good firm performance relative to male executives. We find no link between firm performance and the gender of top executives. We discuss evidence on differences in preferences and the cost of managerial effort by gender and examine the resulting predictions for the structure of compensation. We consider two paradigms for the pay-setting process, the efficient contracting model and the ?managerial power" or skimming view. The efficient contracting model can explain the first two facts. Only the skimming view is consistent with the third fact. This suggests that the gender differentials in executive compensation may be inefficient.
AUTHORS: Prados, María José; Albanesi, Stefania; Olivetti, Claudia
DATE: 2015-03-01


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