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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Despite a policy push toward equality, substantial gender gaps in earnings and vertical gender segregation persist in the labor market. Studies point to gender-specific occupational sorting as one of the primary explanatory factors. But why do men and women sort into different careers? In this chapter, we document the evidence that suggests that gender differences along four behavioral traits may offer a plausible explanation. Specifically, the consensus in the literature is that women, on average, exhibit greater risk aversion, lower levels of competitiveness, and less desire to negotiate as compared to men. Gender differences in social preferences are less robust, but women appear to be more sensitive to social context and framing. Importantly, there is no conclusive evidence on whether these differences are inherent or societal for any of the individual traits, although most studies point to the latter.

Keywords: gender, experiments, labor, risk preferences, competitiveness, negotiation, social preferences

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