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Competing by Default: A New Way to Break the Glass Ceiling*

Nisvan Erkal (), Lata Gangadharan and Erte Xiao ()

No 04-18, Monash Economics Working Papers from Monash University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Leadership selection in organizations often requires candidates to actively choose to participate in the competition. We conjecture that such an Opt-in mechanism may contribute to the gender gap observed in leadership positions. We design an Opt-out mechanism where the default is to compete for a leadership position and individuals can opt out of the competition. Data from our experiments show that women are more likely to compete for leadership positions under the Opt-out mechanism and this effectively reduces the gender gap in competition. When given a choice between the Opt-in and Opt-out mechanisms, individuals are equally likely to choose either one. We conclude that the Opt-out mechanism can be an effective and feasible way to break the glass ceiling.

Keywords: Glass ceiling; Gender inequality; Competition; Leadership; Defaults; Laboratory experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D01 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 61 pages
Date: 2019-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-gen and nep-ltv
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