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Gender in Job Negotiations: A Two-Level Game


  • Bowles, Hannah Riley

    (Harvard U)

  • McGinn, Kathleen


We propose a two-level-game (Putnam, 1988) perspective on gender in job negotiations. At Level 1, candidates negotiate with the employers. At Level 2, candidates negotiate with domestic partners. In order to illuminate the interplay between these two levels, we review literature from two separate bodies of literature. Research in psychology and organizational behavior on candidate-employer negotiations sheds light on the effects of gender on Level 1 negotiations. Research from economics and sociology on intra-household bargaining elucidates how negotiations over the allocation of domestic labor at Level 2 influence labor force participation at Level 1. In conclusion, we integrate practical implications from these two bodies of literature to propose a set of prescriptive suggestions for candidates to approach job negotiations as a two-level game and to minimize disadvantageous effects of gender on job negotiation outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Bowles, Hannah Riley & McGinn, Kathleen, 2008. "Gender in Job Negotiations: A Two-Level Game," Working Paper Series rwp08-027, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-027

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Bowles, Hannah Riley & Babcock, Linda & Lai, Lei, 2007. "Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 84-103, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Natalia Karelaia & Laura Guillén, 2011. "Identity challenges of women leaders: Antecedents and consequences of identity interference," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-11-13, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
    2. Bowles, Hannah Riley, 2012. "Psychological Perspectives on Gender in Negotiation," Scholarly Articles 9830358, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Bowles, Hannah Riley, 2012. "Psychological Perspectives on Gender in Negotiation," Working Paper Series rwp12-046, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Heinz, Matthias & Normann, Hans-Theo & Rau, Holger A., 2016. "How competitiveness may cause a gender wage gap: Experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 336-349.
    5. Christine L. Exley & Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2016. "Knowing When to Ask: The Cost of Leaning In," NBER Working Papers 22961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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