Do Women Prefer Female Bosses?
39 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2016
Date Written: December 30, 2013
The participation of females in the labor force has grown remarkably in the last 50 years. Yet almost nothing is known about how an increasing presence of female bosses affects employee well-being. We provide evidence consistent with the surprising idea that women are much less happy when they have a female boss. Men, by contrast, are unaffected. Crucially our study is able to control for individual worker fixed effects and to identify the impact of a change in supervisor gender on worker well-being without other alterations in the worker’s job. To our knowledge this result has not been documented before in the economics, business or psychology literatures. We conjecture that this result can be interpreted through the lens of reference point theory. Specifically, females may expect working conditions more in line with their preferences when supervised by females rather than males. If female bosses cannot, or do not, meet these expectations, female subordinate well-being declines.
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