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Contribution Details

Type Working Paper
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Do gender preference gaps impact policy outcomes?
Organization Unit
  • Eva Ranehill
  • Roberto A. Weber
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Series Name Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number 271
ISSN 1664-7041
Number of Pages 56
Date 2017
Abstract Text Many studies document systematic gender differences in a variety of important economic preferences, such as risk-taking, competition and pro-sociality. One potential implication of this literature is that increased female representation in decision-making bodies may significantly alter organizational and policy outcomes. However, research has yet to establish a direct connection from gender differences in simple economic choice tasks, to voting over policy and to the resulting outcomes. We conduct a laboratory experiment to provide a test of such a connection. In small laboratory “societies,” people repeatedly vote for a redistribution policy and engage in a real-effort production task. Women persistently vote for more egalitarian redistribution. This gender difference is large relative to other voting differences based on observable characteristics and is partly explained by gender gaps in preferences and beliefs. Gender voting gaps persist with experience and in environments with varying degrees of risk. We also observe policy differences between male- and female-controlled groups, though these are considerably smaller than the mean individual differences—a natural consequence of the aggregation of individual preferences into collective outcomes. Thus, we provide evidence for why substantial and robust gender differences in preferences may often fail to translate into differential policy outcomes with increased female representation in policymaking.
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Keywords Gender differences, risk, altruism, redistributive preferences, experiment, Geschlechtsunterschied, Altruismus, Risikoverhalten, Wahlverhalten, Entscheidungsfindung, Umverteilung, Experiment
Additional Information Auch erschienen als CESifo Working Paper, No. 6776