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It pays to be a man: Rewards for leaders in a coordination game

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  • Grossman, Philip J.
  • Eckel, Catherine
  • Komai, Mana
  • Zhan, Wei

Abstract

We address gender differences in leader effectiveness and followers’ perceptions of leaders’ effectiveness. Our experimental design removes gender-linked factors that might affect leadership success, such as risk-taking and competitiveness. We employ a repeated weakest-link coordination game. Subjects first complete 10 periods without a leader, and then complete 10 additional periods after a leader is introduced. The leader's intervention consists of a short, semi-scripted speech advising followers on how to maximize earnings. Followers then choose a costly bonus for the leader. The leader's gender is the only variable that changes across sessions. Our results suggest that women are assessed less positively and rewarded less generously than equally effective men. Even women who are as competitive and risk loving as men may find it difficult to attain positions and succeed at the upper levels of business and government. While our findings may not fully explain why women of intelligence, character, and training are underrepresented in higher echelons of the society, they do shed light on a piece of this puzzle.

Suggested Citation

  • Grossman, Philip J. & Eckel, Catherine & Komai, Mana & Zhan, Wei, 2019. "It pays to be a man: Rewards for leaders in a coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 197-215.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:161:y:2019:i:c:p:197-215
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.04.002
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    Cited by:

    1. De Paola, Maria & Gioia, Francesca & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2018. "Teamwork, Leadership and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 11861, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan & Boon Han Koh, 2018. "Attribution biases in Leadership: Is it effort or luck ?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 2040, The University of Melbourne.
    3. Ernesto Reuben & Krisztina Timko, 2018. "On the effectiveness of elected male and female leaders and team coordination," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 4(2), pages 123-135, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Leadership; Gender; Coordination game;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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