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Gender in Committees

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.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2003:6.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 07 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2003_0006
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
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  1. Kocher, Martin & Matthias Sutter, 2003. "Individual versus group behavior and the role of the decision making procedure in gift-exchange experiments," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 125, Royal Economic Society.
  2. 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 726-35, May.
  3. Avner Ben-Ner & Famin Kong & Louis Putterman, . "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).
  4. 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.
  5. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which Is The Fair Sex? Gender Differences In Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312, February.
  6. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  7. James Cox & Stephen Hayne, 2006. "Barking up the right tree: Are small groups rational agents?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 209-222, September.
  8. Fershtman, C. & Gneezy, U., 2000. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: an Experimental Approach," Papers 2000-9, Tel Aviv.
  9. Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2002. "Discrimination by Gender and Social Distance," Research Papers in Economics 2002:2, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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