Leadership Selection: Can Changing the Default Break the Glass Ceiling?
65 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2017 Last revised: 10 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 5, 2019
Leadership selection often requires candidates to actively choose to express their interest. We compare such an Opt-in mechanism with an Opt-out mechanism where everyone qualified for the position is in the candidate pool by default, but individuals can choose to opt out of the selection process. Data from experiments reveal a gender gap in participation decisions under the Opt-in mechanism when selection is competitive. The gender gap exists even when individuals know they are the top performers. In contrast, under the Opt-out mechanism, women are more likely to participate, and this effectively reduces the gender gap in leadership selection.
Keywords: Gender inequality; Glass ceiling; Leadership selection; Defaults; Laboratory experiments
JEL Classification: C92, J16, D01
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation