nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2021‒03‒15
seven papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Stockholms universitet

  1. Mind the task: evidence on persistent gender gaps at the workplace By Marta Fana; Davide Villani; Martina Bisello
  2. Gender and Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments By Booth, Alison L.; Nolen, Patrick J.
  3. Promotion of Telecommuting under the Influence of COVID-19 and Gender Inequality in Opportunities (Japanese) By YAMAGUCHI Kazuo; OSAWA Machiko
  4. Gender and the Dynamics of Economics Seminars By Pascaline Dupas; Alicia Sasser Modestino; Muriel Niederle; Justin Wolfers; The Seminar Dynamics Collective
  5. Breaking Gender Barriers: Experimental Evidence on Men in Pink-Collar Jobs By Delfino, Alexia
  6. Competing by Default: A New Way to Break the Glass Ceiling* By Nisvan Erkal; Lata Gangadharan; Erte Xiao
  7. Does early educational tracking contribute to gender gaps in test achievement? A cross-country assessment By Lorenz, Theresa; Schneebaum, Alyssa

  1. By: Marta Fana (European Commission – JRC); Davide Villani (The Open University); Martina Bisello (Eurofound, Dublin)
    Abstract: This article investigates gender differences in tasks performed at the workplace over a period of 25 years, from 1991 and 2016 in France. We exploit data from the Enquête Complémentaire Emploi: Conditions de travail, the oldest survey at the worker level among European countries on a wide range of work attributes and working conditions measures. In our study, we focus both on the content of work form a material perspective, looking concretely at what job tasks are performed by men and women, and on work organisational practices, to capture gender disparities in authority and power relations at the workplace. Our findings reveal that women tend to perform different tasks compared to their male colleagues within the same job also after controlling for supply-side factors, like education, age and seniority. While in line with previous studies we find that women still tend to perform fewer physical tasks than men, despite significant increase in such activities in female dominated jobs, there is no strong evidence supporting the "brain" hypothesis. On the contrary, women appear to be less involved in intellectual tasks and, especially, social tasks such as managing and coordinating. Furthermore, social interactions with clients or customers do not significantly characterise feminised jobs, challenging the idea according to which gender segregation between jobs is explained by the predominance of this type of tasks. Additionally, and more importantly, our analysis shows that gender matters also in terms of work organisation and distribution of power, highlighting strong asymmetries in the way authority and autonomy are distributed between male and female workers, unbalanced in favor of men. Finally, our study shows that these gender effects often exacerbate within male dominated jobs, although they do not necessarily disappear as the share of female workers increases at the job level. We conclude that power and authority are structurally a prerogative of men, regardless of individual and job characteristics, even within female dominated jobs.
    Keywords: employment, working conditions, tasks, gender differences
    JEL: J01 J21 J81
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Booth, Alison L. (Australian National University); Nolen, Patrick J. (University of Essex)
    Abstract: Gender differences in paid performance under competition have been found in many laboratory-based experiments, and it has been suggested that these may arise because men and women respond differently to psychological pressure in competitive environments. To explore this further, we conducted a laboratory experiment comprising 444 subjects, and measured gender differences in performance in four distinct competitive situations. These were as follows: (i) the standard tournament game where the subject competes with three other individuals and the winner takes all; (ii) an anonymized competition in which an individual competes against an imposed production target and is paid only if s/he exceeds it; (iii) a 'personified' competition where an individual competes against a target based on the previous performance of one anonymised person of unknown gender; and (iv) a 'gendered' competition where an individual competes against a target based on the previous performance of one anonymised person whose gender is known. We found that only men respond to pressure differently in each situation; women responded the same to pressure no matter the situation. Moreover, the personified target caused men to increase performance more than under an anonymized target and, when the gender of the person associated with the target was revealed, men worked even harder to outperform a woman but strived only to equal the target set by a male.
    Keywords: psychological pressure, tournament, piece rate, gender, competitive behaviour, experiment
    JEL: C91 C92 J16 J33 M52
    Date: 2021–03
  3. By: YAMAGUCHI Kazuo; OSAWA Machiko
    Abstract: Under the influence of COVID-19, many companies in Europe and the United States are actively adopting telecommuting and teleworking, and they are becoming aware of the advantage of this work style, and it is believed that even after the pandemic is over, many companies will continue to let workers work from home. More generally, the experience of COVID-19 is going to bring about irreversible societal changes in working styles. On the other hand, the promotion of teleworking and telecommuting under COVID-19 has been relatively limited in Japan. This paper shows that there is also a significant gender gap in opportunities to work from home under the influence of COVID-19 in Japan, and women, who are considered to have a higher preference towards working from home than men due to the greater work-life balance it provides, actually have less opportunity to telecommute or telework than men. We will empirically clarify the determinants of this gender gap in opportunity. More specifically, the results of a decomposition analysis show that the gender gap in the opportunity to work from home is due to the gender differences in four factors: employment status (regular / non-regular employment), occupation, company's industry, and company's employee numbers. The results show that social structural factors that place men and women in different positions in the labor market are causing the gender inequality in opportunities for telecommuting and teleworking. This paper further clarifies the degree to which the different factors affect the gender gap, and also discusses their theoretical implications.
    Date: 2021–01
  4. By: Pascaline Dupas; Alicia Sasser Modestino; Muriel Niederle; Justin Wolfers; The Seminar Dynamics Collective
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of the first systematic attempt at quantitatively measuring the seminar culture within economics and testing whether it is gender neutral. We collected data on every interaction between presenters and their audience in hundreds of research seminars and job market talks across most leading economics departments, as well as during summer conferences. We find that women presenters are treated differently than their male counterparts. Women are asked more questions during a seminar and the questions asked of women presenters are more likely to be patronizing or hostile. These effects are not due to women presenting in different fields, different seminar series, or different topics, as our analysis controls for the institution, seminar series, and JEL codes associated with each presentation. Moreover, it appears that there are important differences by field and that these differences are not uniformly mitigated by more rigid seminar formats. Our findings add to an emerging literature documenting ways in which women economists are treated differently than men, and suggest yet another potential explanation for their under-representation at senior levels within the economics profession.
    JEL: A1 C8 J4 J7
    Date: 2021–02
  5. By: Delfino, Alexia (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: Traditionally female-dominated sectors are growing and male-dominated ones shrinking, yet sectorial male shares are not changing. Why? I embed a field experiment within the UK national recruitment program for social workers to analyse barriers to men's entry and the nature of men's sorting into female-dominated occupations. I modify the content of recruitment messages to potential applicants to exogenously vary two key drivers of selection: perceived gender shares and expectations of returns to ability. I find that perceived gender shares do not affect men's applications, while increasing expected returns to ability encourages men to apply and improves the average quality of the applicants. This allows the employer to hire more talented men, who consistently perform better on the job and are not more likely to leave vis-á-vis men with lower expected returns to ability. I conclude by showing that there is no trade-off between men's entry and women's exit among talented applicants, both at hiring and on-the-job, and thus the net impact of raising expected returns to ability for the employer is positive.
    Keywords: recruitment experiment, gender barriers, beliefs
    JEL: D23 D83 J24 J7 M5
    Date: 2021–01
  6. By: Nisvan Erkal; Lata Gangadharan; Erte Xiao
    Abstract: Leadership selection in organizations often requires candidates to actively choose to participate in the competition. We conjecture that such an Opt-in mechanism may contribute to the gender gap observed in leadership positions. We design an Opt-out mechanism where the default is to compete for a leadership position and individuals can opt out of the competition. Data from our experiments show that women are more likely to compete for leadership positions under the Opt-out mechanism and this effectively reduces the gender gap in competition. When given a choice between the Opt-in and Opt-out mechanisms, individuals are equally likely to choose either one. We conclude that the Opt-out mechanism can be an effective and feasible way to break the glass ceiling.
    Keywords: Glass ceiling; Gender inequality; Competition; Leadership; Defaults; Laboratory experiments
    JEL: C92 J16 D01
    Date: 2019–06
  7. By: Lorenz, Theresa; Schneebaum, Alyssa
    Abstract: On average, boys score higher than girls on math achievement tests and girls score higher than boys in reading. A worrying fact is that these gaps increase between primary and secondary school. This paper investigates the role of early educational tracking (sorting students into different types of secondary schools at an early age) on gender gaps in test achievement. We analyze PISA, PIRLS, and TIMSS data to study how cross-country variation in the age of first tracking affects the country-specifc widening gender gap in a difference-in-differences framework. We find strong evidence that early tracking increases gender differences in reading. Early tracking also increases the gender gap in math scores, but the results for math are sensitive to the year of the dataset analyzed and to the inclusion of particular countries in the analysis. For both subjects, every year for which the age of first tracking is postponed weakens the effect of early tracking on the gender gap in achievement.
    Keywords: PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS, gender gaps, educational systems, early tracking
    Date: 2021–03

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