The Power of Knowing a Woman Is in Charge: Lessons from a Randomized Experiment

71 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2023 Last revised: 11 Oct 2023

See all articles by Loretti Dobrescu

Loretti Dobrescu

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Alberto Motta

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Akshay Shanker

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Date Written: January 30, 2023

Abstract

As part of a term-long anonymous assessment, thousands of undergraduate uni- versity students were divided into groups, each led by a randomly selected peer. The leader’s gender had no effect on the assessment’s outcomes, but female students led by a female peer achieved 0.26 SDs higher course grades when the gender of the leader was revealed. They also outperformed by 0.22 SDs their counterparts in groups where the leader’s gender was revealed to be male. The mechanism involved attempting more difficult practice questions. Our structural estimates suggest this operated via a stereotype threat reversal that reduced anxiety.

Keywords: education production function, incentives, gender differences, randomized controlled trial

JEL Classification: J24, J18

Suggested Citation

Dobrescu, Loretti Isabella and Motta, Alberto and Shanker, Akshay, The Power of Knowing a Woman Is in Charge: Lessons from a Randomized Experiment (January 30, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4483603 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4483603

Loretti Isabella Dobrescu (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Alberto Motta

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/albertomottaeconomics/

Akshay Shanker

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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