Gender Differences in Preferences for Team Leadership – Change through Experience?

Last registered on November 15, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Gender Differences in Preferences for Team Leadership – Change through Experience?
Initial registration date
November 10, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
November 15, 2022, 3:54 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

University of Cologne

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The first step from a position without team responsibility to a managerial position is a key bottleneck in women’s career progression. This experimental study investigates i) whether differences in self-assessment across genders exist with respect to team leadership positions and ii) whether these differences are malleable by exposing candidates to experience with the specific role of a team leader. Subjects will be randomly assigned to treatment – the leadership position – or control – a team member position. The leader’s task is to motivate subjects playing a public good game through bilateral communication. A measure of preferences for team leadership is elicited by a second-price auction which allows to compare leadership preferences of treated and untreated subjects by gender. The results of this experiment can help to understand whether exogenously exposing employees to leadership experience can increase the number of (female) applicants for leadership positions and thus decrease the gender representation gap.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Thevißen, Paula. 2022. "Gender Differences in Preferences for Team Leadership – Change through Experience? ." AEA RCT Registry. November 15.
Experimental Details


Subjects are stratified by gender and randomly assigned to the treatment condition (leadership position) or to the control condition (team member position). The laboratory experiment investigates the gender difference in the effect of leadership experience on preferences for positions including team leadership.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome variable is the bid submitted in the application stage in which subjects apply to become a leader.

The following two main hypotheses will be tested:

1) Men in the control condition bid significantly more than women in the control condition.

2) The gender gap in bids is significantly smaller in the treatment condition compared to the control condition.

The main regression will include gender and treatment status as well as an interaction term of gender and treatment status as independent variables. A further specification will control for other observables such as the group’s contribution or the stated willingness to lead.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Stage 1: Subjects play a standard public good game (PGG). The PGG is adapted to the context of interest by adding a communication tool. The treated subjects – the leaders – have the communication power within their groups. Treatment assignment is stratified by gender (please see Randomization Method for more details).

Stage 2: Subjects apply for a position as leader in Stage 3 by submitting bids in a second price sealed bid auction (Vickrey, 1961).

Stage 3: Stage 3 is almost equivalent to Stage 1. The main difference to Stage 1 is that subjects are not randomly assigned to leadership positions, but the assignment will follow the outcomes of Stage 2, the application stage.

During the experiment subjects answer demographic questions and provide survey evidence on e.g., their motivation to lead.

In each stage, subjects receive the same endowment. It will be randomly determined whether subjects’ payment is based on Stages 1 and 2 or on Stages 2 and 3.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization will be done using the software otree (Chen et al., 2016). An equal number of men and women will be invited to the experiment. Subjects will indicate their current gender in the beginning of the experiment. This information is used to assign all female subjects to one stratum and all male subjects to a second stratum. Subjects who choose the third option (“diverse”) are assigned to the team-member position because the share of potential participants who chose “diverse” when registering for experiments of the CLER is lower than 0.01%. However, it cannot be guaranteed that every person invited will show up which might lead to an unbalanced number of subjects in each stratum. The randomization method takes this into account:

In each stratum, every third subject is assigned to the treatment condition. Thus, ideally, an equal number of male and female subjects is assigned to leadership positions. The leaders are then randomly assigned to two randomly chosen team members. If there is a mismatch in the number of leaders and team members, the subjects who could not be assigned to a group of three will be grouped together. Within this group, one person is randomly chosen to be the leader.
Randomization Unit
Individual subject
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
The number of clusters is the same as the number of observations (please see below).
Sample size: planned number of observations
The purpose of the experiment is to test the understandability of the instructions as well as to collect first evidence on potential effect sizes. The planned number of participants is 81.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
One third of the subjects will be randomly assigned to the treatment condition (i.e. the role as leader).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
This pilot study aims at collecting a first indication of potential effect sizes. The main study will be registered including the information found in this study.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences (ERC-FMES)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number