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Are women less effective leaders than men? Evidence from experiments using coordination games


Heursen, Lea; Ranehill, Eva; Weber, Roberto A (2020). Are women less effective leaders than men? Evidence from experiments using coordination games. Working paper series / Department of Economics 368, University of Zurich.

Abstract

We study whether one reason behind female underrepresentation in leadership is that female leaders are less effective at coordinating action by followers. Two experiments using coordination games investigate whether female leaders are less successful than males in persuading followers to coordinate on efficient equilibria. Group performance hinges on higher-order beliefs about the leader’s capacity to convince followers to pursue desired actions, making beliefs that women are less effective leaders potentially self-confirming. We find no evidence that such bias impacts actual leadership performance, identifying a precisely-estimated null effect. We show that this absence of an effect is surprising given experts’ priors.

Abstract

We study whether one reason behind female underrepresentation in leadership is that female leaders are less effective at coordinating action by followers. Two experiments using coordination games investigate whether female leaders are less successful than males in persuading followers to coordinate on efficient equilibria. Group performance hinges on higher-order beliefs about the leader’s capacity to convince followers to pursue desired actions, making beliefs that women are less effective leaders potentially self-confirming. We find no evidence that such bias impacts actual leadership performance, identifying a precisely-estimated null effect. We show that this absence of an effect is surprising given experts’ priors.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D23, C72, C92, J1
Uncontrolled Keywords:Gender, coordination games, leadership, experiment
Language:English
Date:October 2020
Deposited On:17 Nov 2020 17:43
Last Modified:27 Nov 2020 07:34
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:49
ISSN:1664-705X
OA Status:Green
Official URL:https://www.econ.uzh.ch/en/research/workingpapers.html?paper-id=1050

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