Lovász Anna tudományos főmunkatárs Gender differences in the effect of subjective supervisory feedback címmel előadást tartott a 30. EALE (European Association of Labour Economists) konferencián.
Recent evidence points to significant gender differences in non-cognitive traits that may contribute to gender gaps in labor market outcomes. We use a simple experiment to test whether subjective feedback could be an element of the market design that contributes to the disadvantage of women by favoring certain traits. Economics studies have focused on the effect of relative performance feedback, and found that it can improve the participation and performance of women in competitive tasks. Research in psychology suggests that subjective feedback also impacts individual motivation, and that this effect differs by personality. We estimate the gender difference in the impact of two types of positive feedback – encouragement and praise – on performance. We use an online computer game of visual perception, during which players are randomly chosen to be given either no subjective feedback (control), or positive subjective feedback (treatment). We find that women are more responsive to subjective feedback in general. Encouragement has a positive, while praise has a negative mean effect on their performance, while both are insignificant for men. These gaps are mostly explained by gender differences in task-related confidence, there are no gender gaps in the effect once confidence is controlled for. Men who are less confident in facing a new task also respond positively to encouragement, and the effect of praise increases with confidence for both genders. These results suggest that more individualized subjective communication can improve the performance of less confident individuals, and decrease gender inequality.