NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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On the Origins of Gender-Biased Behavior: The Role of Explicit and Implicit Stereotypes

Eliana Avitzour, Adi Choen, Daphna Joel, Victor Lavy

NBER Working Paper No. 27818
Issued in September 2020
NBER Program(s):Children, Development Economics, Economics of Education, Labor Studies

In recent years, explicit bias against women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is disappearing but gender discrimination is still prevalent. We assessed the gender-biased behavior and related explicit and implicit stereotypes of 93 math teachers to identify the psychological origins of such discrimination. We asked the teachers to grade math exam papers and assess the students’ capabilities while manipulating the perceived gender of the students to capture gender-biased grading and assessment behavior. We also measured the teachers’ implicit and explicit stereotypes regarding math, gender, and talent. We found that implicit, but not explicit, gender stereotypes correlated with grading and assessment behavior. We also found that participants who underestimated their own implicit stereotypes engaged in more pro-male discrimination compared to those who overestimated or accurately estimated them. Reducing implicit gender stereotypes and exposing individuals to their own implicit biases may be beneficial in promoting gender equality in STEM fields.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27818

 
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