Essays in Behavioral Economics, Gender and Employment
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CitationLiu, Heidi. 2020. Essays in Behavioral Economics, Gender and Employment. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the factors underlying gender disparities in the workplace, alongside potential interventions. Chapter 1 theorizes that the stereotype of women being relatively risk-averse may be overstated by researchers’ propensity to measure risk preferences in male-dominated decision contexts. Through laboratory experiments and an archival study of Jeopardy! contestants, we show women are less risk-averse in more gender-congruent decision contexts. Chapter 2 assesses one proposed intervention for reducing gender discrimination in hiring: masked applications. Using a dataset of job applications, interview questions and responses, I find that the percentage of female employees reviewing a job application was positively correlated with higher ratings for female applicants, and to a lesser extent, male applicants and male reviewers. In exploring potential mechanisms for this effect, I find detectable gender differences in how applicants express themselves. For female applicants, but not for male applicants, the gender stereotypicality of a job was correlated with the use of ambitious and affective language. Finally, Chapter 3 examines the willingness to pay and relative frequency of employers to obtain information about applicants. Through an online game, I find through an online game that participants with real-world hiring experience demonstrably relied on a highly correlated proxy for performance. Yet, even with this proxy available, some participants continued to purchase additional information about applicants, including demographic characteristics relevant to United States antidiscrimination law.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365727
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