Penalties for Unexpected Behavior: Double Standards for Women in Finance
42 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2019 Last revised: 13 Apr 2020
Date Written: March 3, 2020
We present 179 investment professionals with a scenario that manipulates whether a male or female analyst persists in pitching a stock pick after it has been voted down. Respondents evaluate analysts as less promotable when they do not persist, but only if the analyst is female. Results are consistent with categorization theory, which suggests evaluators rely on stereotypes to interpret unexpected behaviors. In male-dominated settings, the same unexpected behavior may be perceived as evidence of a “lack of fit” in evaluations of women, but nondiagnostic in evaluations of men. Analysis of free-response questions confirm that the unexpected behavior was a predominant focus in performance evaluations of women, but not for men. Semi-structured interviews with 13 senior investment professionals provide additional support for the role of expectations and categorization heuristics on promotion decisions. Our findings shed light on factors that may contribute to the investment industry’s “leaky pipeline” for women.
Keywords: performance evaluation, subjective performance measures, gender bias, analyst characteristics
JEL Classification: M40, M41, M49, M51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation