Do Workers Discriminate against Female Bosses?

51 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2019


I hire 2,700 workers for a transcription job, randomly assigning the gender of their (fictitious) manager and provision of performance feedback. While praise from a manager has no effect, criticism negatively impacts workers' job satisfaction and perception of the task's importance. When female managers, rather than male, deliver this feedback, the negative effects double in magnitude. Having a critical female manager does not affect effort provision but it does lower workers' interest in working for the firm in the future. These findings hold for both female and male workers. I show that results are consistent with gendered expectations of feedback among workers. By contrast, I find no evidence for the role of either attention discrimination or implicit gender bias.

Keywords: gender discrimination, gig economy, female leadership

JEL Classification: J50, J70

Suggested Citation

Abel, Martin, Do Workers Discriminate against Female Bosses?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12611, Available at SSRN: or

Martin Abel (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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