How Costly is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness
Muriel Niederle (),
Carmit Segal () and
Lise Vesterlund ()
No 13923, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
Recent research documents that while men are eager to compete, women often shy away from competitive environments. A consequence is that few women enter and win competitions. Using experimental methods we examine how affirmative action affects competitive entry. We find that when women are guaranteed equal representation among winners, more women and fewer men enter competitions, and the response exceeds that predicted by changes in the probability of winning. An explanation for this response is that under affirmative action the probability of winning depends not only on one's rank relative to other group members, but also on one's rank within gender. Both beliefs on rank and attitudes towards competition change when moving to a more gender-specific competition. The changes in competitive entry have important implications when assessing the costs of affirmative action. Based on ex-ante tournament entry affirmative action is predicted to lower the performance requirement for women and thus result in reverse discrimination towards men. Interestingly this need not be the outcome when competitive entry is not payoff maximizing. The response in entry implies that it may not be necessary to lower the performance requirement for women to achieve a more diverse set of winners.
JEL-codes: C91 J16 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ent and nep-exp
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (25) Track citations by RSS feed
Published as Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2013. "How Costly Is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, May.
Downloads: (external link)
Journal Article: How Costly Is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness (2013)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13923
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().