Session 17: Gender

Date
Fri, Sep 15 2023, 9:00am - Sat, Sep 16 2023, 5:00pm PDT
Location
Landau Economics Building, 579 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

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Organized by
  • Alejandro Martinez-Marquina, University of Southern California
  • Muriel Niederle, Stanford University
  • Alessandra Voena, Stanford University

This session will be dedicated to understanding how gender influences economic outcomes and decision-making. We invite submissions of papers whose main focus is on gender, regardless of field, to foster dialogue across fields. In addition to senior faculty members, invited presenters will include junior faculty as well as graduate students. 

In This Session

Friday, September 15, 2023

Sep 15

8:30 am - 9:00 am PDT

Registration Check-in & Breakfast

Sep 15

9:00 am - 10:10 am PDT

Session 1: The Dynamics of Hiring Decisions

Sep 15

9:00 am - 9:35 am PDT

Systemic Discrimination: Theory and Measurement

Presented by: Alex Imas (University of Chicago)

Economics often defines and measures discrimination as disparities stemming from direct effects of group identity. We develop new tools to model and measure systemic discrimination, defined as disparities stemming from differences in non-group characteristics. Systemic discrimination can arise from differences in signaling technologies and opportunities for skill development. We propose a measure based on a decomposition of total discrimination into direct and systemic components. The measure is illustrated in a series of hiring experiments and a novel Iterated Audit experimental paradigm with real hiring managers. Results highlight how direct discrimination in one domain can drive systemic discrimination in other domains.

Sep 15

9:35 am - 10:10 am PDT

Choosing and Using Information in Evaluation Decisions

Presented by: Katherine Coffman (Harvard University)
Co-author(s): Scott Kostyshak (University of Florida) and Peri Saygin (University of Florida)
Sep 15

10:10 am - 10:40 am PDT

Coffee Break

Sep 15

10:40 am - 11:15 am PDT

Gender Differences in Negotiations and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from and Information Intervention with College Students

Presented by: Patricia Cortes (Boston University)
Co-author(s): Jacob French (New York University), Jessica Pan (National University of Singapore), and Basit Zafar (University of Michigan)

We assess the role of information gaps in understanding gender differences in negotiation behavior by conducting a randomized information experiment on the 2018 to 2020 graduating cohorts of undergraduate business majors from Boston University. Prior to starting their job search, treated students were provided with objective information about the gender gap in negotiation among their peers along with the earnings changes conditional on negotiating. We find sizable immediate effects on negotiation intentions, and these average effects persist to actual negotiation behavior, particularly for men. While the treatment affects women’s negotiation behavior through belief-updating, the effects on men’s behavior are through increased salience or learning new information. Further, we find some evidence that gender-specific spillovers are likely to explain the smaller average treatment effects for women. Overall, our findings suggest that such information interventions can help to nudge women who have potentially large financial returns to negotiation to realize these gains.

Sep 15

10:40 am - 11:50 am PDT

Session 2: Negotiation and Self-Promotion

Sep 15

11:15 am - 11:50 am PDT

Learning From Leaning In

Presented by: Matt Lowe (University of British Columbia)
Co-author(s): Noor Kumar (University of British Columbia), Uyseok Lee (University of British Columbia), and Olaitan Ogunnote (University of British Columbia)

We document and diagnose gender gaps in question-asking in UK Parliament. Each week a lottery determines which politicians ask the Prime Minister a question in front of a packed legislative chamber. Using 157 lotteries and new data on thousands of oral and written questions to ministers across different government departments, we report five findings. First, women are 12% less likely to submit questions than similarly-experienced men, and this gender gap has persisted since at least 1990. Second, this gender gap does not close with experience – women randomly selected to ask a question are no more likely to submit questions in future than lottery losers, nor is the effect of experience on future question-asking more positive for women than for men. Third, we find some evidence of peer effects: when more women are selected to ask the Prime Minister a question, their female peers are more likely to submit questions for the next two lotteries. Fourth, the gender gap is similar for written and oral questions, ruling out gender differences in public speaking aversion. Finally, the gender gap closes or reverses when focusing on questions asked to female-typed departments, like Education and Health. Our results suggest that the gender gap in question-asking is rooted in the topics emphasized in Parliament, and not corrected through experience.

Sep 15

11:50 am - 2:00 pm PDT

Lunch

Sep 15

1:35 pm - 2:00 pm PDT

Coffee Break

Sep 15

2:00 pm - 3:10 pm PDT

Session 3: Discovering Women

Sep 15

2:00 pm - 2:35 pm PDT

How Economics Discovered Women

Presented by: Shelly Lundberg (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Interest in research on the economic role of women rose during the 1970s and 80s as large numbers of women entered the labor force (and the field of economics). Gender economics is now a substantial subfield, with new sources of data, from experiments through administrative rosters, giving us an unprecedented ability to measure and compare the individual traits, behaviors, and histories of men and women. What has been less apparent is that recent advances in economics hold considerable promise for an improved understanding of complex issues concerning gender and gender inequalities but have made little headway to date. In particular, a more realistic economics of choice has been developing—based on the findings of behavioral economics, studies of social influences on patterns of behavior, and a recognition of the role of culture in the economy—and one of the outcomes has been to blur our traditional separation of preferences and constraints. In much applied work on gender, however, the possibility of a new conceptual framework has run into persistent habits of mind in economics that have prevented us from seeing beyond, for example, the discrimination vs. preferences dichotomy generally applied to gender differences. I offer some examples of where we’ve gone wrong and some ideas regarding why, and suggest some promising paths forward.

Sep 15

2:35 pm - 3:10 pm PDT

Cassatts in the Attic

Presented by: Matt Marx (Cornell University)
Co-author(s): Marlène Koffe (University of Toronto)

We analyze more than 70 million scientific articles to characterize the gender dynamics of commercializing science. The double-digit gender gap we report is explained neither by the quality of the science nor its ex-ante commercial potential, and is widest among papers with female last authors (i.e., lab heads) when publishing high-quality science. Using the Pitchbook database, we show that when authors self-commercialize scientific discoveries via new ventures, no gap appears, raising the question of whether incumbent firms are unaware of—or ignore—scientific contributions by women. A natural experiment based on the Obama administration’s staggered introduction of open-access requirements for federally-funded research reveals that although easier access to scientific articles facilitates commercialization, this benefit accrues primarily to male authors. We identify two mechanisms that may explain why firms focus on discoveries with male lab heads. First, articles written with more “boastful” language are commercialized more often, and female scientists generally boast less, but even when they do, their scientific discoveries are commercialized no more often. Second, we observe gender homophily between scientific authors and commercializing inventors, the vast majority of whom are male. We conclude by emphasizing the potential welfare effects of the gender gap in commercialization: the disparity is more pronounced for higher-quality discoveries, as indicated by academic and patent citations or by predicted probabilities of commercialization derived from deep-learning algorithms. Therefore, it truly appears that the gender gap leads to key scientific discoveries (i.e., “Cassatts”) remaining in the ivory tower (i.e., in the “attic of science”).

Sep 15

3:10 pm - 3:40 pm PDT

Coffee Break

Sep 15

3:40 pm - 4:40 pm PDT

Session 4: Job Market Candidates

Sep 15

3:40 pm - 3:55 pm PDT

Paternalistic Discrimination

Presented by: Nina Buchmann (Stanford University)
Co-author(s): Carl Meyer (Stanford University) and Colin D. Sullivan (Purdue University)

Women in South Asia struggle to access the labor market, especially in male-dominated occupations, despite recent progress in education and training. We conduct a two-sided field experiment in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to identify a novel form of discrimination, which we term paternalistic discrimination: the preferential treatment of male workers to protect female workers from tasks or jobs perceived as difficult or harmful. We observe real hiring and application decisions for a night-shift job that provides safe worker transport home at the end of the shift. We experimentally vary the perceived welfare of the workers by varying whether we inform employers about this amenity before they make their hiring decisions or whether we inform applicants about this amenity before they make their application decisions. Not informing employers decreases the demand for female labor by 25%---suggesting that employers discriminate paternalistically---while not informing applicants decreases the female labor supply by 16%. Combining the results of the two experiments in an equilibrium model, we demonstrate that eliminating paternalistic discrimination would reduce the experiments' gender employment and wage gaps. Finally, our counterfactual exercises suggest that providing safe transport is a cost-effective way to increase employer profits and worker welfare in our setting.

Sep 15

3:55 pm - 4:10 pm PDT

What Works for Her?: How Work-from-Home Digital Jobs Affect Female Labor Force Participation

Presented by: Suhani Jalota (Stanford University)
Co-author(s): Lisa Ho (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

In settings where social norms impose severe constraints on married women, their labor force participation—particularly for jobs outside the home—is markedly low. Flexible and remote digital job opportunities have the potential to shift this trend. We implemented a randomized field experiment in Mumbai's slum resettlement communities with 3,000 households, randomly assigning them to a job offer for either Work-from-Home (WfH) or Work-from-Center (WfC), and cross-randomizing to three wage levels. We find that women are twice as likely to take up a WfH job offer as compared to a job offer at a (women-only, child-friendly) local center (58% vs 27% take-up rates, respectively), and the actual burden of housework and childcare cannot explain most of the difference. Subsequent field experiments and analyses are consistent with the role of norms of domesticity, wherein wives are expected to stay home, as a key factor in explaining this gap. Remarkably, even when wages are increased up to five times for WfC jobs, women still overwhelmingly prefer WfH jobs; higher wages do not counteract the strong norms of domesticity, thereby not increasing job take-up.

Sep 15

4:10 pm - 4:25 pm PDT

Gender Politics in the Roe vs. Wade Era: Female Leaders and the Prevalence of Abortions

Presented by: Netanel Ben-Porath (Northwestern University)
Co-author(s): Matan Kolerman (The Hebrew University)

This work documents that during 1973-2020, electing a woman to be a state legislator or governor in the U.S. increased the prevalence of abortions in her state. We identify the causal effect of electing a female governor by using a Regression Discontinuity Design. For legislators, we establish causality by introducing a novel application of the Regression Discontinuity Aggregation methodology (Borusyak and Kolerman, n.d.). We do not find an effect on abortions when electing a Democrat to either role, suggesting leaders' gender matters. When we focus on legislators, we uncover that the effect is driven by a change in regulation. In contrast, female governors make public discourse, as manifested in local newspapers, more favorable toward abortions. Since abortions are highly disputed in the U.S., this shift in public perceptions may make abortions less socially costly, explaining our main results.

Sep 15

4:25 pm - 4:40 pm PDT

Municipal-Level Gender Norms: Measurement and Effects on Women in Politics

Presented by: Luisa Carrer (Toulouse School of Economics)
Co-author(s): Lorenzo De Masi (Carlos III University of Madrid)

We study the implications of traditional gender norms for legislators' engagement with women's issues. We exploit information on the popularity of gender-related interests available from Facebook to capture variation in gender attitudes at the municipal level within Italy, a geographical resolution that would otherwise be unavailable. We then develop a granular Gender Norms Index (GNI) by replicating a region-level survey-based benchmark measure via machine learning algorithms. After validating our index by showing that it reflects other cultural and socio-economic variables, we leverage this local variation in norms to isolate their impact on legislators' policy activity in the Italian Parliament. We show that while female legislators are in general more likely to sponsor gender-related bills than men, the engagement is substantially smaller if they were born in more gender-conservative towns. The results are unlikely to be fully explained by party and constituency influences. These findings highlight the importance of social norms and sexist culture in lawmaking, possibly slowing down reform for the expansion of women's rights.

Sep 15

4:40 pm - 7:30 pm PDT

Dinner at Muriel's House

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Sep 16

8:30 am - 9:00 am PDT

Check-in & Breakfast

Sep 16

9:00 am - 10:10 am PDT

Session 5: The Impacts of Education

Sep 16

9:00 am - 9:35 am PDT

Home Economics and Women's Gateway to Science

Presented by: Michael J. Andrews (University of Maryland Baltimore County)
Co-author(s): Yiling Zhao (Peking University)

We propose that collegiate home economics programs in the early 20th century introduced a generation of women to chemical and biological sciences. Using college-level data from the 1910 Commissioner of Education report and a collection of historical college yearbooks spanning 1900-1940, we document that a 10 percentage points increase in the share of women in home economics led to a roughly 3 percentage points increase in the share of women majoring in science. We also show that colleges with historical home economics programs have higher shares of women studying biology in years since 1965.

Sep 16

9:35 am - 10:10 am PDT

Indoctrination in the Classroom - Evidence from the Spanish Social Service

Presented by: Alejandro Martinez-Marquina (University of Southern California)
Sep 16

10:10 am - 10:40 am PDT

Coffee Break

Sep 16

10:40 am - 11:15 am PDT

Moving to Opportunity, Together

Presented by: Seema Jayachandran (Princeton University)
Co-author(s): Lea Nassal (University of Duisburg-Essen), Matthew Notowidigdo (Univeristy of Chicago), Marie Paul (University of Duisburg-Essen), Heather Sarsons (University of British Columbia), and Elin Sundberg (Uppsala University)

Many couples face a trade-off between advancing one spouse's career or the other's. We study this trade-off by analyzing the earnings effects of relocation and the effects of a job layoff on the probability of relocating using detailed administrative data from Germany and Sweden. Using an event-study analysis of couples moving across commuting zones, we find that relocation increases men's earnings more than women's, with strikingly similar patterns in Germany and Sweden. Using a sample of mass layoff events, we find that couples in both countries are more likely to relocate in response to the man being laid off compared to the woman. We then investigate whether these gendered patterns reflect men's higher earnings or a gender norm that prioritizes men's career advancement. To do this, we develop a model of household decision-making where households place more weight on the income earned by the man compared to the woman, and we test the model using the subset of couples where the man and woman have similar potential earnings. In both countries, we show that the estimated model can accurately reproduce the reduced-form results and can also quantitatively reproduce most of the observed female "child penalty."

Sep 16

10:40 am - 11:50 am PDT

Session 6: Gender Norms and Attitudes

Sep 16

11:15 am - 11:50 am PDT

Older and Wiser? Gender Norms and Relative Age in Marriage

Presented by: Mark Borgschulte (University of Illinoise)
Co-author(s): Yuhao Yang (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics)

A smaller gap between the age of husbands and wives is often taken as indicative of a more equal marriage and greater empowerment for women. In this paper, we estimate how marital surplus and household characteristics respond to the gender norm that wives should be younger than their husbands. Treating the norm-breaking penalty as increasing in the size of the norm violation leads to a kinked penalty function. Empirically in the contemporary U.S., marriage probabilities and marital surplus kink sharply downwards above spousal equality in age. Household characteristics change, too, when women marry younger men: older wives are relatively more educated, work longer hours, and earn more income; these households also have fewer children present when the wife is 40 years old. The kink in the gender gap in total personal income is $9400, meaning that just-older wives earn a far larger share of household income than just-younger wives. The penalty for violating the norm appears in historical data, has grown since World War 2, and is largest today in U.S. states with higher incomes and levels of education. We find evidence of the kink in marital surplus in most countries around the world, though kinks in other countries are smaller in magnitude than in the United States. The evidence supports but complicates the social role theory of gender norms.

Sep 16

11:50 am - 1:00 pm PDT

Lunch

Sep 16

1:00 pm - 2:10 pm PDT

Session 7: The Rise of Female Employment

Sep 16

1:00 pm - 1:35 pm PDT

High-Value Work and the Rise of Women: The Cotton Revolution and Gender Equality in China

Presented by: Melanie Meng Xue (London School of Economics)

This study investigates the impact of the Cotton Revolution (1300–1840 AD) on women’s economic roles and the emergence of gender-equitable beliefs. The Cotton Revolution involved the adoption of new technologies and regional specialization in cotton weaving, which enabled women to become major income earners in affected regions. Using a difference-in-differences approach, I find that the Cotton Revolution led to a positive shift in the portrayal of women in poetry, reflecting changing attitudes. I also document a negative relationship between the Cotton Revolution and the belief that men are naturally more capable, and identify long-term changes such as reduced sex selection, increased education for women, and more female leaders. These findings are robust to matching and instrumental variable methods. The enduring influence of the Cotton Revolution under centralized socialist rule suggests the operation of a cultural channel.

Sep 16

1:35 pm - 2:10 pm PDT

Structural Transformation Over 150 Years of Men's and Women's Work

Presented by: Claudia Olivetti (Darthmouth College)
Co-author(s): Rachel Ngai (London School of Economics) and Barbara Petrongolo (University of Oxford)

We build a consistent measure of male and female work for the US for the period 1880-2019 – encompassing intensive and extensive margins – by combining data from the US Census and several early sources. The resulting measure of hours, including paid work as well as unpaid work in family businesses, displays an asym- metric U-shape for women, with a modest decline up to mid-20th century and a sustained rise afterwards. For men, hours fall throughout the sample period. We empirically and theoretically relate these trends to the process of structural trans- formation, and namely the reallocation of labour across agriculture, manufacturing and services, and the marketization of home production. We propose a multisector model of the economy with uneven productivity growth, income effects, and consumption complementarity across sectoral outputs. At early stages of development, declining agriculture leads to rising services (both in the market and the home) and leisure, implying a fall in market work for both genders. At later stages of development, structural transformation reallocates labor from manufacturing into services, and a large service economy implies an important marketization process, progressively reallocating work from home to market services. Given gender comparative advantages, the first channel is more relevant for men, implying a decrease in male hours, and the second channel is more relevant for women, implying an increase in female hours.

Sep 16

2:10 pm - 2:40 pm PDT

Coffee Break

Sep 16

2:40 pm - 2:55 pm PDT

Monopsony and Gender

Presented by: Garima Sharma (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

This paper investigates the role of monopsony power in explaining the gender wage gap in Brazil. I use firm-specific demand shocks induced by the end of a textile and clothing trade agreement (the Multifiber Arrangement) to show that women are substantially less likely than men to leave their employer following a wage cut. The resulting gender difference in monopsony power would generate an 18pp gender wage gap among equally productive workers, explaining over half the observed gender wage gap. I next use a model to show that this higher monopsony power over women has two intuitive sources: (i) women prefer their specific employer more than men (10pp), and (ii) women have fewer good employers than men, with good jobs for women highly concentrated in the textile sector (8pp). Surprisingly, this concentration itself largely reflects the amenities/disamenities present in different sectors rather than gender-based comparative advantage. My findings demonstrate that although the textile industry provides women desirable jobs, this desirability confers its employers with higher monopsony power. Desirable jobs for men are not similarly concentrated.

Sep 16

2:40 pm - 3:25 pm PDT

Session 8: Young Scholars I

Sep 16

2:55 pm - 3:10 pm PDT

Performance Feedback and Gender Differences in Persistence

Presented by: Maria Kogelnik (Yale University)

I use an experiment and a field study to explore gender differences in persistence and the mechanisms driving this novel phenomenon, which cannot be explained by preferences for competition or risk. In the experiment, subjects can either continue or drop out of an environment that involves ego-relevant feedback and solely rewards high performance. I find that men are on average 10 percentage points (15%) more likely to continue than women who performed equally well and received the same feedback. I detect two novel mechanisms: First, men are more confident about their future performance even when compared to women who are similarly confident about their past performance – both in the experiment and a classroom field study. Second, experimental findings suggest that men seek, while women avoid exposure to additional feedback. Together, these mechanisms explain roughly two-thirds of the gender gap in persistence.

Sep 16

3:10 pm - 3:25 pm PDT

What Works for Working Mothers? A Regular Schedule Lowers the Child Penalty

Presented by: Martina Uccioli (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Co-author(s): Ludovica Ciasullo (New York University)

Which work arrangements do mothers prefer, and how do these work arrangements affect the child penalty they experience? The Australian 2009 Fair Work Act explicitly entitled parents of young children to request a (reasonable) change in work arrangements. Leveraging variation in the timing of the law, timing of childbirth, and the bite of the law across different occupations and industries, we establish two main results. First, if allowed to request a change in work arrangements, new mothers ask for regularity in their schedule. Second, with regular schedules, working mothers’ child penalty declined from a 47 percent drop in hours worked to a 40 percent drop. For the most exposed mothers, the Fair Work Act led to both a doubling in schedule regularity, and a 30% decrease in the child penalty in hours of work.

Sep 16

3:25 pm - 3:55 pm PDT

Coffee Break

Sep 16

3:55 pm - 4:40 pm PDT

Session 9: Young Scholars II

Sep 16

3:55 pm - 4:10 pm PDT

Female empowerment and female competitiveness

Presented by: David Klinowski (University of Pittsburgh)
Sep 16

4:10 pm - 4:25 pm PDT

Quota vs Quality? Long-Term Gains from an Unusual Gender Quota

Presented by: Ursina Schaede (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Sep 16

4:25 pm - 4:40 pm PDT

Tackling Sexual Harassment: Short and Long Run Experimental Evidence from India

Presented by: Karmini Sharma (Stanford University)

Sexual harassment imposes substantial economic costs on the victims, yet there is limited evidence on how to effectively deter it. Using a randomized controlled trial, I show that class-based sexual harassment awareness training with men in New Delhi reduces women’s reports of sexual harassment by classmates, even though men in the treatment group do not report improved attitudes. This is consistent with men avoiding harassing women to avoid peer disapproval. The training also leads to a long-lasting reduction in romantic relationships between men and women within the classroom. This is consistent with women not being able to judge men’s “quality” from their behavior once social reprehension of harassment generates a pooling equilibrium. A similar female intervention did not lead to detectable effects on these outcomes.