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Risk Taking and Gender in Hierarchies

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  • Scotchmer, Suzanne

Abstract

In a labor market hierarchy, promotions are affected by the noisiness of information about the candidates. I study the hypothesis that males are more risk taking than females, and its implications for rates of promotion and abilities of survivors. I de…fine promotion hierarchies with and without memory, where memory means that promotion depends on the entire history of success. In both types of hierarchies, the surviving risk takers will have lower average ability whenever they have a higher survival rate. Further, even if more risk takers than non risk takers are promoted in the beginning of the hierarchy, that will be reversed over time. The risk takers will eventually have a lower survival rate, but higher ability. As a consequence of these differences, the various requirements of employment law cannot simultaneously be satisfi…ed. Further, if promotion standards are chosen to maximize profit, the standards will reflect gender in ways that are difficult to distinguish from discriminatory intent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics in its series Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt9gn734nz.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:oplwec:qt9gn734nz

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  1. Sobel, Joel, 2001. "On the Dynamics of Standards," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 606-23, Winter.
  2. Milgrom, Paul & Oster, Sharon, 1987. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces, and the Invisibility Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 453-76, August.
  3. Dekel, E. & Scotchmer, S., 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes Towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Papers 4-99, Tel Aviv.
  4. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Sex and Risk: Experimental Evidence," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. Joseph E. Harrington & Jr., 1999. "Rigidity of Social Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 40-64, February.
  6. María Paz Espinosa & Javier Gardeazabal, 2013. "Do Students Behave Rationally in Multiple Choice Tests? Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 9(2), pages 107-135, July.
  7. Harry Holzer & David Neumark, 1999. "Assessing Affirmative Action," NBER Working Papers 7323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bardsley Peter & Sherstyuk Katerina, 2006. "Rat Races and Glass Ceilings," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-35, November.
  9. Lundberg, Shelly J, 1991. "The Enforcement of Equal Opportunity Laws under Imperfect Information: Affirmative Action and Alternatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 309-26, February.
  10. Lundberg, Shelly J & Startz, Richard, 1983. "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 340-47, June.
  11. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & Nancy Lutz & V. Padmanbhan, 1997. "Playing it Safe: Men, Women, and Risk Aversion," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-42, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  12. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  13. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  14. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
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Cited by:
  1. M Espinosa & J Gardeazabal, 2007. "Do students behave rationally in multiple-choice tests? Evidence from a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00237, The Field Experiments Website.

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