Implicit Discrimination and the Promotion Gap
46 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2021
Date Written: November 19, 2021
We develop a model of implicitly biased decision-making in competitive promotions. In our model, a decision-maker needs to choose who to promote to a top position. The decision-maker always prefers a skilled agent over an unskilled one but is biased in favour of agents from a certain group when choosing among identical agents. The bias is implicit in the sense of having no direct payoff consequences for the decision-maker, and thus being imperceptible to a decision-maker who is initially unaware of it. As agents compete with each other in a promotion contest, their strategic behavior can either exacerbate or attenuate the initial decision-maker's bias. Our model shows even small biases can translate into substantial differences in promotion outcomes between groups.
Keywords: Gender gap, promotion, performance evaluation, glass ceiling, leaking pipe, gender bias, wage gap, wage differential
JEL Classification: M51,J71, J31
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