Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2003:6: Gender in Committees

Martin Dufwenberg () and Astri Muren ()
Additional contact information
Martin Dufwenberg: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Astri Muren: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: How does a group’s gender composition influence its decisions? Economists have found women to be more generous and egalitarian than men, so one might expect groups with more women to be more generous/egalitarian. Group polarization, whereby discussions amplify preexisting attitudes (a phenomenon well-established in psychology), would enhance that effect. We report experimental evidence. Femalemajority groups are more generous/egalitarian than male-majority groups,ut female unisex groups are not the most generous/egalitarian. We discuss how these findings accord with our derived conjectures, and what can be learned regarding the influence of gender composition on committee decision-making more generally.

Keywords: gender; groups; generosity; group polarization

JEL-codes: A13; C92; D63; D64; J16

17 pages, June 7, 2003

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