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Gender Composition, Stereotype and the Contribution of Ideas

32 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2017 Last revised: 1 Aug 2017

Jingnan Chen

University of Exeter

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

Date Written: May 8, 2017

Abstract

The gender composition of teams, and the way it impacts economic outcomes, has attracted increasing attention in the media and the economics literature. Nonetheless, past research has left open the question of how a group’s gender composition impacts group performance. In this paper, we propose and experimentally test one potential answer: the gender composition of a group may moderate one’s willingness to contribute ideas to the group and therefore impact the group’s overall performance. Using a controlled laboratory experiment, we randomly assign people to groups with varying gender compositions. We find that, on average, people in mixed gender groups are twice as likely to exhibit the gender stereotype effect as those in single gender groups. Further, the gender stereotype effect vanishes for males in single gender groups. Our results have important policy implications for single/mixed gender schooling, as well as gender diversity in the workplace.

Keywords: gender, group performance, willingness to contribute, gender composition, stereotype

JEL Classification: J16, C92

Suggested Citation

Chen, Jingnan and Houser, Daniel, Gender Composition, Stereotype and the Contribution of Ideas (May 8, 2017). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 17-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2989049

Jingnan Chen (Contact Author)

University of Exeter ( email )

Streatham Court
Exeter, EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science ( email )

5th Floor, Vernon Smith Hall
George Mason University
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
7039934856 (Phone)

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