Leadership Selection: Can Changing the Default Break the Glass Ceiling?

109 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2017 Last revised: 25 Jun 2021

See all articles by Nisvan Erkal

Nisvan Erkal

University of Melbourne - Faculty of Business and Economics

Lata Gangadharan

Monash University

Erte Xiao

Monash University

Date Written: June 5, 2021

Abstract

Leadership selection often requires candidates to actively choose to express their interest. Using a series of incentivized experiments with more than 1000 participants, we compare such an Opt-in mechanism with an Opt-out mechanism where everyone qualified for the position is in the candidate pool by default, but individuals can choose to opt out of the selection process. The results reveal a gender gap in participation decisions under the Opt-in mechanism. The gender gap exists even when individuals know they are the top performers, suggesting helping women improve their performance may not necessarily reduce gender gaps. Importantly, women are more likely to participate under the Opt-out mechanism and gender gaps in leadership selection are reduced.

Keywords: Gender inequality; Glass ceiling; Leadership selection; Defaults; Laboratory experiments

JEL Classification: C92, J16, D01

Suggested Citation

Erkal, Nisvan and Gangadharan, Lata and Xiao, Erte, Leadership Selection: Can Changing the Default Break the Glass Ceiling? (June 5, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3022386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3022386

Nisvan Erkal

University of Melbourne - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Victoria, 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 3307 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 6899 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nisvanerkal.net

Lata Gangadharan

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Erte Xiao (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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