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Gender Biases in Performance Evaluation: The Role of Beliefs Versus Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Nisvan Erkal

    (Department of Economics, University of Melbourne)

  • Lata Gangadharan

    (Department of Economics, Monash University)

  • Boon Han Koh

    (School of Economics and Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science, University of East Anglia)

Abstract

We investigate whether gender distorts performance evaluation in environments where outcomes are determined by unobservable choices and luck. Evaluators form beliefs about leaders choices and make discretionary payment decisions. We find that while discretionary payments made to male leaders are determined by both outcomes and evaluators beliefs, those made to female leaders are determined by outcomes only. We label this new source of gender bias as the gender belief-outcome gap. Our findings imply that good outcomes are necessary for women to get bonuses, but men can receive bonuses for bad outcomes as long as evaluators hold them in high regard.

Suggested Citation

  • Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan & Boon Han Koh, 2021. "Gender Biases in Performance Evaluation: The Role of Beliefs Versus Outcomes," University of East Anglia School of Economics Working Paper Series 2021-09, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  • Handle: RePEc:uea:ueaeco:2021-09
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender gaps; Performance evaluation; Biases in belief updating; Outcome bias; Social preferences; Laboratory experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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