Priming Women with Power Closes the Gender Gap in Competitiveness

Research Cluster

Speaker:Helena Fornwagner, University of Innsbruck
Date: Tuesday 23 January 2018
Time: 12.30
Location: Streatham Court D

Further details

BID Cluster - Despite improvements over the past decades, labor market outcomes for women are still comparatively worse than for men. An important factor contributing to inequalities in wages and promotions is a frequently observed gender difference in the willingness to compete. In an attempt to close this gender gap, various policy interventions, like quotas, have been implemented in many countries. However, such interventions are not undisputed and have been found to cause unintended side-effects. Here we present experimental evidence that a simple and practically costless tool – priming subjects with power – can close the gender gap in competitiveness. While in a low-power priming situation men are almost three times more likely than women to choose competition, this gap vanishes completely when subjects are primed with a high-power situation. These results are robust when controlling for abilities and risk tolerance, and we show that priming with high power makes competition entry decisions more realistic.