Saturday, March 2, 2013

Gender bias and discrimination

Lately, I find myself referring a lot of students to the following paper by Iris Bohnet, Alexandra van Geen and Max H. Bazerman: "When Performance trumps Gender Bias: Joint versus Separate Evaluation"

The abstract reads:
"We examine a new intervention to overcome gender biases in hiring, promotion, and job assignments: an “evaluation nudge,” in which people are evaluated jointly rather than separately regarding their future performance. Evaluators are more likely to focus on individual performance in joint than in separate evaluation and on group stereotypes in separate than in joint evaluation, making joint evaluation the money-maximizing evaluation procedure. Our findings are compatible with a behavioral model of information processing and with the System 1/System 2 distinction in behavioral decision research where people have two distinct modes of thinking that are activated under certain conditions."

When I refer to this paper, I also almost always refer to the quite nice paper by Markus Mobius and Tanya Rosenblat: "Why Beauty Matters"
"We decompose the beauty premium in an experimental labor market where ‘employers’ determine wages of ‘workers’ who perform a maze-solving task. This task requires a true skill which we show to be unaffected by physical attractiveness. We find a sizable beauty premium and can identify three transmission channels. (1) Physically-attractive workers are more confident and higher confidence increases wages. (2) For a given level of confidence, physically-attractive workers are (wrongly) considered more able by employers. (3) Controlling for worker confidence, physically-attractive workers have oral skills (such as communication and social skills) that raise their wages when they interact with employers. Our methodology can be adopted to study the sources of discriminatory pay differentials in other settings."

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