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Stereotypes, underconfidence and decision-making with an application to gender and math

Elyès Jouini, Paul Karehnke and Clotilde Napp

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2018, vol. 148, issue C, 34-45

Abstract: We study the effects of the presence of a negative stereotype on the formation of self-confidence and on decision-making in achievement-related situations. We take into account not only consumption utility but also psychological utility (ex-ante ego utility and ex-post disappointment/elation). We show that any stereotype of lower ability (in the form of biased interpretation of success and failure in terms of ability) leads to gaps in confidence, in participation in risky/ambitious options and in performance. Furthermore, we show how the stereotype survives and even gets reinforced. Considering gender and mathematics, we are able to explain the lower self-confidence of girls in mathematics, their underrepresentation in STEM fields, as well as their choices of less ambitious options and lower performance.

Keywords: Stereotype; Gender gap; Self-confidence; Subjective ability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 D81 D84 J16 I24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.002

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