Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2020:27: Subjective Judgment and Gender Bias in Advice: Evidence from the Laboratory

Juliana Silva Goncalves () and Roel van Veldhuizen ()
Additional contact information
Juliana Silva Goncalves: University of Sydney, Australia
Roel van Veldhuizen: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Better understanding and reducing gender gaps in the labor market remains an important policy goal. We study the role of advice in sustaining these gender gaps using a laboratory experiment. In the experiment, “advisers” advise “workers” to choose between a more ambitious and a less ambitious task based on the worker’s subjective self-assessment. We expected female workers to be less confident and advisers to hold gender stereotypes, leading to a gender bias in advice. However, we find no evidence that women are less confident or that advice is gender-biased. Our results contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms driving gender differences in the labor market. They also call for caution when making general interpretations of research findings pointing to a gender bias in specific settings.

Keywords: Advice; Subjective judgment; Gender bias

JEL-codes: C91; D91; J16

57 pages, December 14, 2020

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