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Representation is not sufficient for selecting gender diversity


  • Baron, Justin
  • Ganglmair, Bernhard
  • Persico, Nicola
  • Simcoe, Timothy S.
  • Tarantino, Emanuele


One strategy for promoting female leaders in STEM professions is to appoint more women to the committees that select leaders. Unfortunately, evidence from other settings, such as committees for selecting judges or professors, suggests this approach does not work. We use a natural experiment to test the idea that organizational norms supporting gender diversity are necessary for representation on 'selectorates' to promote gender diversity among STEM leaders. Our empirical setting is the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) - a standard-setting organization that develops key protocols for Internet hardware and software. We find that when more women are randomly selected for the committee that appoints IETF leaders, the committee appoints more female leaders, but only after a set of interventions meant to increase members' awareness of the benefits of gender diversity.

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  • Baron, Justin & Ganglmair, Bernhard & Persico, Nicola & Simcoe, Timothy S. & Tarantino, Emanuele, 2023. "Representation is not sufficient for selecting gender diversity," ZEW Discussion Papers 23-056, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:280938

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marianne Bertrand & Sandra E Black & Sissel Jensen & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2019. "Breaking the Glass Ceiling? The Effect of Board Quotas on Female Labour Market Outcomes in Norway," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 86(1), pages 191-239.
    2. Agata Maida & Andrea Weber, 2022. "Female Leadership and Gender Gap within Firms: Evidence from an Italian Board Reform," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 75(2), pages 488-515, March.
    3. Alejandro Corvalan & Pablo Querubín & Sergio Vicente, 2020. "The Political Class and Redistributive Policies," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 1-48.
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    5. Manuel F. Bagues & Berta Esteve-Volart, 2010. "Can Gender Parity Break the Glass Ceiling? Evidence from a Repeated Randomized Experiment," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 77(4), pages 1301-1328.
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    Cited by:

    1. Baron, Justus & Kanevskaia, Olia, 2023. "Wearing multiple hats—The role of working group chairs’ affiliation in standards development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(9).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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