Individuals often improve on their performances significantly by accessing knowledge provided by others. However, individuals can also be deterred from seeking help due to social image concerns or (mis)perceptions about others' willingness to help. At the same time, individuals may differ in the extent to which they are willing to provide help to others, and such willingness may depend on the characteristics of the advice-seeker or the knowledge area of knowledge. The purpose of this research is understanding how people’s gender and related factors explain the ease of asking for and/or receiving help to achieve a better performance. We explore this in a setting where participants face a task for which they do not have full knowledge or information, but which has an objectively correct answer. In particular, we want to understand how the gender of the participant and gender of those providing help affect both the demand and supply of advice.
This study seeks to show whether:
- there is a gap in performance when a participant is helped by a (randomly matched) person of the same vs different gender
- on the supply side, people differentially provide advice to people of a different gender (and this contributes to explaining the performance gap)
- on the demand side, people differentially ask for advice to people of a different gender (and this contributes to explaining the performance gap)
- whether people hold misperceptions on the supply of advice by people of different genders
Thus the study aims to uncover the existence of gender gaps in performance and information acquisition in gender-mixed teams, and to distinguish whether those gaps come from demand-side frictions (e.g., one gender not asking enough for information or expecting little help) or supply-side frictions (e.g., one gender giving actual little help). We will experimentally keep fixed the quality of advice provided (the helper has no control on this), and we will only focus on the quantity of advice supplied vs demanded.
Additional exercises will help us:
- quantify the extent to which aligning incentives between advice-seekers and advice-suppliers helps mitigate some of these gaps by improving the supply of advice
- provide evidence on whether choosing your own advice-supplier (male or female) instead of getting a random one mitigates some of the gaps in performance and information acquisition
- provide evidence on whether gender gaps in performance and information acquisition are related to the gender stereotype associated with a particular knowledge area
- quantify participants' willingness-to-pay for avoiding being seen asking for advice by the advice-supplier
- the role of expectations of own and others' performance - conditionally and unconditionally of getting advice - in explaining the supply and demand for advice
-the role of expectation of advice needed vs. advice supplied in explaining gender gap in performance
- explore heterogeneity in the effects by baseline ability, gender attitudes and stereotypes, personality traits and economic preferences such as risk aversion, trust, altruism/pro-sociality, over-confidence
- categorise participants into types, such as i) always asking for advice, ii) never asking for advice and iii) reacting to the environment
- the role of experience and information on others' behaviour in the supply of advice
This knowledge shall become useful to explain previously found gender differences in the benefits of working in a group. Gender and group performance are an important topic to study, especially as workforces become more integrated and diverse.