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Attribution Bias by Gender: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment

James Fenske (), Alessandro Castagnetti and Karmini Sharma
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Karmini Sharma: University of Warwick

CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)

Abstract: In many settings, economic outcomes depend on the competence and e?ort of the agents involved, and also on luck. When principals assess agents’ performance they can su?er from attribution bias by gender : male agents may be assessed more favorably than female agents because males will be rewarded for good luck, while women are punished for bad luck. We conduct a laboratory experiment to test whether principals judge agents’ outcomes di?erently by gender. Agents perform tasks for the principals and the realized outcomes depend on both the agents’ performance and luck. Principals then assess agents’ performance and decide what to pay the agents. Our experimental results do not show evidence consistent with attribution bias by gender. While principals’ payments and beliefs about agent performance are heavily in?uenced by realized outcomes, they do not depend on the gender of the agent. We ?nd suggestive evidence that the interaction between the gender of the principal and the agent plays a role. In particular, principals are more generous to agents of the opposite gender.

Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-gen and nep-hrm
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https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/c ... /452-2020_fenske.pdf

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