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Stereotypes, underconfidence and decision-making with an application to gender and math

Author

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  • Jouini, Elyès
  • Karehnke, Paul
  • Napp, Clotilde

Abstract

We study the effects of the presence of a negative stereotype on the formation of self-confidence and on decision-making in achievement-related situations. We take into account not only consumption utility but also psychological utility (ex-ante ego utility and ex-post disappointment/elation). We show that any stereotype of lower ability (in the form of biased interpretation of success and failure in terms of ability) leads to gaps in confidence, in participation in risky/ambitious options and in performance. Furthermore, we show how the stereotype survives and even gets reinforced. Considering gender and mathematics, we are able to explain the lower self-confidence of girls in mathematics, their underrepresentation in STEM fields, as well as their choices of less ambitious options and lower performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Jouini, Elyès & Karehnke, Paul & Napp, Clotilde, 2018. "Stereotypes, underconfidence and decision-making with an application to gender and math," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 34-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:34-45
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Stereotype; Gender gap; Self-confidence; Subjective ability;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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