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Beliefs about Gender

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  • Pedro Bordalo
  • Katie Coffman
  • Nicola Gennaioli
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

We conduct a laboratory experiment on the determinants of beliefs about own and others? ability across different domains. A preliminary look at the data points to two distinct forces: miscalibration in estimating performance depending on the difficulty of tasks and gender stereotypes. We develop a theoretical model that separates these forces and apply it to analyze a large laboratory dataset in which participants estimate their own and a partner?s performance on questions across six subjects: arts and literature, emotion recognition, business, verbal reasoning, mathematics, and sports. We find that participants greatly overestimate not only their own ability but also that of others, suggesting that miscalibration is a substantial, first order factor in stated beliefs. Women are better calibrated than men, providing more accurate estimates of ability both for themselves and for others. Gender stereotypes also have strong predictive power for beliefs, particularly for men?s beliefs about themselves and others? beliefs about the ability of men. Our findings help interpret evidence on gender gaps in self-confidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Bordalo & Katie Coffman & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2016. "Beliefs about Gender," Working Paper 478946, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  • Handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:478946
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    File URL: http://scholar.harvard.edu/shleifer/node/478946
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Niels D. Grosse & Gerhard Riener, 2010. "Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Olga Shurchkov, 2012. "Under Pressure: Gender Differences In Output Quality And Quantity Under Competition And Time Constraints," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1189-1213, October.
    3. Katherine Baldiga Coffman, 2014. "Evidence on Self-Stereotyping and the Contribution of Ideas," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1625-1660.
    4. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    5. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292.
    6. Anna Dreber & Emma Essen & Eva Ranehill, 2011. "Outrunning the gender gap—boys and girls compete equally," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 567-582, November.
    7. 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.
    8. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leonardo Bursztyn & Alessandra L. González & David Yanagizawa-Drott, 2018. "Misperceived Social Norms: Female Labor Force Participation in Saudi Arabia," Working Papers 2018-042, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    2. Drupp, Moritz A. & Khadjavi, Menusch & Riekhof, Marie-Catherine & Voss, Rüdiger, 2017. "Professional identity and the gender gap in risk-taking: Evidence from a field experiment with scientists," Kiel Working Papers 2077, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    3. Carlana, Michela, 2018. "Implicit Stereotypes: Evidence from Teachers' Gender Bias," IZA Discussion Papers 11659, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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