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Gender in Committees

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Abstract

How does a group’s gender composition influence its decisions? Economists have found women to be more generous and egalitarian than men, so one might expect groups with more women to be more generous/egalitarian. Group polarization, whereby discussions amplify preexisting attitudes (a phenomenon well-established in psychology), would enhance that effect. We report experimental evidence. Femalemajority groups are more generous/egalitarian than male-majority groups,ut female unisex groups are not the most generous/egalitarian. We discuss how these findings accord with our derived conjectures, and what can be learned regarding the influence of gender composition on committee decision-making more generally.

Suggested Citation

  • Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2003. "Gender in Committees," Research Papers in Economics 2003:6, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2003_0006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377.
    2. Martin Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Individual versus group behavior and the role of the decision making procedure in gift-exchange experiments," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 63-88, March.
    3. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    4. Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2002. "Discrimination by Gender and Social Distance," Research Papers in Economics 2002:2, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    5. James Cox & Stephen Hayne, 2006. "Barking up the right tree: Are small groups rational agents?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(3), pages 209-222, September.
    6. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    7. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena, 1995. "An experimental test for gender differences in beneficent behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 287-292, June.
    8. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-735, May.
    9. Avner Ben-Ner & Famin Kong & Louis Putterman, "undated". "Share and Share Alike? Intelligence, Socialization, Personality, and Gender-Pairing as Determinants of Giving," Working Papers 1002, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; groups; generosity; group polarization;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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