Knowing When to Ask: The Cost of Leaning in

53 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2016

See all articles by Christine Exley

Christine Exley

Harvard Business School

Muriel Niederle

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lise Vesterlund

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

Gender differences in the propensity to negotiate are often used to explain the gender wage gap, popularizing the push for women to “lean-in.” We use a laboratory experiment to examine the effect of leaning-in. Despite men and women achieving similar and positive returns when they must negotiate, we find that women avoid negotiations more often than men. While this suggests that women would benefit from leaning-in, a direct test of the counterfactual proves otherwise. Women appear to positively select into negotiations and to know when to ask. By contrast, we find no significant evidence of a positive selection for men.

Suggested Citation

Exley, Christine and Niederle, Muriel and Vesterlund, Lise, Knowing When to Ask: The Cost of Leaning in (December 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22961. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2890093

Christine Exley (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Muriel Niederle

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Lise Vesterlund

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4T18 WW Posvar. Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/vesterlund/

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