Gender Attitudes and Intra-household Bargaining: Effects on Career-life Outcomes Across the Globe with Kathleen McGinn

August 21, 2014

Gender inequality in workplaces and in homes around the globe reflects individual attitudes and abilities, intra-household bargaining and legal and socio-cultural influences. Research that considers factors across the individual, household and cultural levels simultaneously is essentially nonexistent. This paper explores how gender attitudes are shaped by the national context, how these shape intra-household bargaining, and how women’s and men’s lives at work and at home are altered in the process. Speaker: Kathleen McGinn, Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

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Explaining Rape During Civil War with Dara Kay Cohen

August 21, 2014

Why do some armed groups commit massive wartime rape, while others never do? Using an original dataset, I describe the substantial variation in rape by armed actors during recent civil wars and test a series of competing causal explanations. I find evidence that the recruitment mechanism is associated with the occurrence of wartime rape.
Specifically, the findings support an argument about wartime rape as a method of socialization, in which armed groups that recruit by force— through abduction or pressganging—use rape to create unit cohesion. I examine observable implications of the argument, based on months of fieldwork, in case studies of the conflicts in Sierra Leone, El Salvador and Timor-Leste, and consider some of the longterm consequences of conflict-related mass rape. Speaker: Dara Kay Cohen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

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Do boys and girls respond differently to academic competition? with Robert Jensen

August 21, 2014

This paper examines whether social stigma or peer sanctions associated with academic achievement or effort adversely affects girls’ school performance (in absolute terms, or relative to boys). The effects of the introduction of a point system and “leaderboard” into computer-based math and English courses in high schools in California revealed previously hidden information, namely who the top performers were in the class. This study finds that the system led to a very large decline in performance for students who were at the top of the class prior to introduction (those most “at risk” of being in the leaderboard), and a smaller increase in performance for students at the bottom of the class. Despite results from previous studies on stigma and performance, this study finds no differences in these effects between boys and girls in either English or math. The net effect of the point system and leaderboard worsen overall performance. Speaker: Robert Jensen, Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, University of Pennsylvania

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Women and Power: Hard to Earn, Difficult to Signal, and Easy to Lose with Victoria Brescoll

August 21, 2014

Although women have made great in attaining positions of power in recent decades, there still remains barriers to women in not only continuing to attain these positions, but also in maintaining them. Women face different challenges than men in the quest for leadership roles and their ability to hold onto these positions. For women, power can still be hard to earn, difficult to signal to others (once power is attained), and, in certain circumstances, easy to lose. Gender stereotypes—our beliefs about what men and women are like—continue to shape our perceptions of women and can ultimately impede women’s progress in gaining, exercising, and maintaining power and leadership. My research on women and the precariousness of their power has examined women in top leadership roles (e.g., the United States Senate), experiments in the lab, and interviews with women who have managed to navigate the challenges of being in leadership positions. Speaker: Victoria Brescoll, WAPPP Fellow; Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Yale School of Management

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Women and the Plough: The Historical Origins of Gender Norms in Society with Alberto Alesina

August 21, 2014

To better understand the historical origins of current differences in norms and beliefs about the appropriate role of women in society, Professor Alesina tests the hypothesis that traditional agricultural practices influenced the historical gender division of labor and the evolution and persistence of gender norms. Finding that, consistent with existing hypotheses, the descendants of societies that traditionally practiced plough agriculture, today have lower rates of female participation in the workplace, in politics, and in entrepreneurial activities, as well as a greater prevalence of attitudes favoring gender inequality. They identify the causal impact of traditional plough use by exploiting variation in the historical geo-climatic suitability of the environment for growing crops that differentially benefited from the adoption of the plough. To isolate the importance of cultural transmission as a mechanism, they examine female labor force participation of second-generation immigrants living within the US. Speaker: Alberto Alesina, Nathaniel Ropes Professor  of Political Economy, Harvard University

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Stereotype Accuracy: Do College Women Miss the Mark When Estimating the Impact of Maternal Employment on Children’s Development with Wendy Goldberg

August 21, 2014

Decades after the second wave feminist movement, how do today’s college-aged women think about the effects of combining work and motherhood on children’s outcomes? In Goldberg’s study, she compared how students estimated the effect to meta-analytic effect sizes, which provided the ‘actual’ effects of maternal employment on children. Results indicated that, on average, college women overestimate the negative effects of maternal employment, especially full-time employment, on children. Significant variability in the direction and accuracy of the stereotypes was explained by individual characteristics such as culture/ethnicity, work values, and gender attitudes. In this seminar, we will discuss implications for work/life plans of the generation coming to adulthood. Speaker: Wendy Goldberg, Professor Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, UC Irvine

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Reducing the Caretaker Penalty: Norms, Laws and Organizational Policy with Shelley Correll

August 21, 2014

A growing body of research finds that mothers and other caretakers experience disadvantages in the workplace. Professor Correll will present recent research that uncovers the social psychological mechanisms producing these disadvantages. Her argument demonstrates how “family friendly” laws that prohibit discrimination against workers who take family leave can mitigate these biases.  Professor Correll will present experimental evidence that supports this argument and shows that law is more effective than voluntary organizational policies in counteracting the disadvantages caretakers experience at work.  She concludes with a discussion of how workplaces can more effectively reduce the caretaker penalty. Speaker: Shelley Correll, Professor of Sociology, Stanford University

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Gender and Moral Decision-Making wtih Jooa Julia Lee

August 21, 2014

Virtually all normative and descriptive models of moral judgment view an agent’s gender as irrelevant to judgments of moral permissibility — whether an action such as sacrificing one life to save five others is carried out by a man or a woman does not qualify its appropriateness. However, we demonstrate that people expect men to be more utilitarian, than women when resolving moral dilemmas. Accordingly, they find utilitarian behavior more appropriate when carried out by male agents. This research suggests that moral judgment is not only evaluative in scope, but also inferential. Individuals view behavior as a signal about character, and because of their prior beliefs about male and female characteristics, they arrive at different judgments when the same behavior is carried out by male and female agents. This paper discusses the organizational implications of the gender bias in moral decision-making.the new economy. Speaker: Jooa Julia Lee, WAPPP Fellow; Doctoral Candidate in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

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Different Ways of Not Having It All: Work, Care, and Gender Change in the New Economy with Kathleen Gerson

August 21, 2014

Gender inequality in workplaces and in homes around the globe reflects individual attitudes and abilities, intra-household bargaining and legal and socio-cultural influences. Research that considers factors across the individual, household and cultural levels simultaneously is essentially nonexistent. This paper explores how gender attitudes are shaped by the national context, how these shape intra-household bargaining, and how women’s and men’s lives at work and at home are altered in the process. Just as the industrial revolution prompted a new way of life by separating earning an income from domestic caretaking, the rise of a new economy is again reshaping the ways people organize work and care. The decline of stable jobs, along with the rise of optional and fluid intimate partnerships, has created unpredictable occupational and interpersonal prospects for women and men alike. How are 21st century adults responding to these growing conflicts and uncertainties? What are the implications for gender – and class – inequality? And what are the possibilities for creating more egalitarian options? Drawing on her recent book, “The Children of the Gender Revolution,” as well as early findings from a new study of workers residing in Silicon Valley, Gerson will present a framework for exploring and explaining the changing landscape of gender, work, and care in the new economy. Speaker: Kathleen Gerson, Professor of Sociology, New York University

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Imposed Versus Desired Professional Identities: Embracing, Passing, Revealing and their Consequences with Erin Reid

August 21, 2014

This field study of a strategy consulting firm explores how men and women cope with organizational pressures to construct a professional identity that involves full devotion to work. Reid finds that while some people easily embrace this imposed identity, most experience a conflict between it and the less-devoted professional identities that they desire to construct. She traces how men and women navigate this conflict by aiming to stay true to their desired selves while either (1) passing as adherents to, or (2) overtly revealing their deviance from, the imposed identity. Unpacking the different ways in which people manipulate features of their work, we construct and manage these deviant professional selves. Drawing on performance and interview data, she demonstrates how both those who embrace the imposed identity and those pass as adherents to it are held in high esteem and rewarded by the firm, while those who reveal their deviance are recognized as such and penalized. Speaker: Erin Reid, Assistant Professor, Boston University

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