WIDER Seminar Series

Philip J. Grossman on why it pays to be a man: rewards for leaders in a coordination game

WIDER Seminar Series

Philip J. Grossman will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 26 June 2019. 

Abstract – It pays to be a man: rewards for leaders in a coordination game

We address gender differences in leader effectiveness and followers’ perceptions of leaders’ effectiveness. Our experimental design removes gender-linked factors that might affect leadership success, such as risk-taking and competitiveness. We employ a repeated weakest-link coordination game. 

Subjects first complete 10 periods without a leader, and then complete 10 additional periods after a leader is introduced.  The leader’s intervention consists of a short, semi-scripted speech advising followers on how to maximize earnings. Followers then choose a costly bonus for the leader. The leader’s gender is the only variable that changes across sessions.

Our results suggest that women are assessed less positively and rewarded less generously than equally effective men. Even women who are as competitive and risk loving as men may find it difficult to attain positions and succeed at the upper levels of business and government. While our findings may not fully explain why women of intelligence, character, and training are underrepresented in higher echelons of the society, they do shed light on a piece of this puzzle.

About the speaker

Philip J. Grossman has been a professor in the Department of Economics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, since 2011. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia in 1984. His primary field of research is experimental/behavioural economics, working on gender differences, pro and antisocial behaviour, and leadership. Professor Grossman has published more than 50 refereed articles in leading journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Public Economics, The Leadership Quarterly, and Experimental Economics. He currently serves as associate editor of both The Leadership Quarterly and the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

Seminars will be live streamed on Facebook and recordings and presentations will be available after the event here.

For more information email richardson@wider.unu.edu

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