Joseph Price, Economics
Evaluation of academic objectives
The academic objectives of this projects included introducing mentored students to experimental methods in economics and providing them with a unique experience working with the tools of this new field. This was particularly important for our students preparing to attend graduate school and likely to work for companies such as Savvysherpa, for which experimental methods are becoming a very important tool.
We believe that these objectives were met successfully in the course of this project. Between Jan. 2013 and Dec. 14, we employed a total of 8 student research assistants who were involved in every aspect of the research process. Our research assistants helped us review the related literature and use the insights they drew from prior research to help work out the specific details of our experiment. Several of them learned how to use Z-tree software and programed the experimental protocol using this software. They helped recruit participants for the study and run all of the experimental sessions. Finally, they were involved in conducting the analysis and writing up the results of the paper.
Evaluation of the mentoring environment
The students were mentored closely throughout the course of this project, including regularly scheduled group mentored research lab times and regular one-on-one meetings. The students involved in this project benefited significantly by acquiring new skills and valuable research experiences and sharpening their interpersonal and communication skills necessary in any professional or academic setting. The students for whom this project likely provided the greatest benefits are those students who are now attending ot planning on attending a PhD program in Economics, Public Policy, and Marketing and students who are planning to pursue their Master’s degrees in these fields. 7 out of the eight students involved in this project fall into this category. The remaining student is currently working in the private sector financial firm, where he is able to use his quantitative and programming skills on a daily basis.
While we view the primary mentoring as operating through the student research assistants we also feel that we were able to providing a valuable research experience for the student participants in our study. They were able to experience the experimental process firsthand.
List of students who participated and their academic deliverables
A total of eight students participated in this project as paid research assistants. Below we list their names and their corresponding academic deliverables.
- Matt Hubbard – coded up the experimental protocol in Z-tree, helped with recruitment and conducting the sessions;
- Theresa Boyd – coded up the experimental protocol in Z-tree, helped with recruitment and conducting the sessions;
- Lidan Xu – helped with recruitment, lab management, and conducting the sessions;
- Margatet Xeely – helped with experimental design and review of the prior literature;
- Brandon Betz – data coding, analysis of the results;
- Kaitlyn Lewis –data coding, analysis of the results, conducting the sessions;
- Rebecca Jack – data coding, analysis of the results, writing up the results for the paper.
- Lingrui Duan – data coding
Description of the results
Below, we include a full version of the current draft of the paper with the detailed results. Here, we summarize the results briefly.
Within the literature on identity priming, we have several new findings. First, women appear to be more responsive to priming than men. Even in the control sessions, information on the partner’s gender can produce significant ingroup favoritism among women. While we find no evidence of ingroup favoritism in PD game, we find significantly higher levels of cooperation in the real-effort task among women in samegender groups relative to mixed-gender groups. Our analysis of chat communications reveals significantly higher number of chat entries, words, and questions from women when they are matched with other women relative to when they are matched with men.
We also find that priming gender identity seems to invoke stereotypes about men and women’s roles in communication, causing men to be significantly more vocal, and women to communicate less. Notably, these imbalances in communication patterns of men and women lead to a significant increase in inefficiency in mixed-gender groups. We find that inefficiency in the gender priming treatment is significantly higher than in the control. This holds true especially for men in our study and suggests that making gender more salient diminishes subjects’ ability or motivation to remain task-oriented.
This project is an important contribution to the economic literature on social identity and behavior in mixed-gender teams. It has significant advantages, compared to other studies on the effects of social identity on economic behavior. In particular, we investigate the effect of highlighting a fragmenting identity on cooperation in mixed-gender teams using a real-effort task and measuring communication patterns. Moreover, it is one of the first studies to use naturally existing social identities, as opposed to artificially created lab identities, increasing the external validity of our results.
While the relationships we document in this specific sample and environment may not be immediately generalizable to broader populations and settings, the conclusions we draw are novel and should motivate researchers to explore further the role of gender and other identities in organizational settings, particularly as the workforce is becoming increasingly diverse.
Description of how the budget was spent
The budget for this project was spent in accordance with what had proposed. Most of the money (approx. $4,500) was spent the wages of student research assistants. The remainder of the budget (approx. $3,500) was spent on payment to experimental subject participants – BYU students.