Frisch seminar: Siri Isaksson

Shine a light (on the bright): Awards and the gender gap in
knowledge contributions in STEM

Zoom ->

Abstract: Collaborative knowledge work may suffer if high-ability individuals do
not feel confident to speak up and advance their ideas (e.g., due to
self-stereotyping). We test whether recognition through awards
increases high-ability group members’ confidence to speak up when
working on male-typed knowledge tasks. We use a lab experiment to
study performance-based recognition with different degrees of
publicness: private recognition, virtual award, ceremony. First, we
show that self-stereotyping affects women’s contribution of ideas in
mathematics. Second, awards significantly increase recipients' and
hence high-ability subjects’ confidence to speak up. Third, the
awards’ visibility does not matter much, except when interacted with
gender. The gender gap in confidence to speak up disappears among
high-ability participants when awards are celebrated in a ceremony
with face-to-face recognition. Losers remain unaffected. Further
experiments shed light on the mechanisms and allow us to compare
recognition to pure performance feedback. 


Published Mar. 12, 2021 4:35 PM - Last modified Nov. 24, 2021 10:09 AM