Gender Quotas, Competitions, and Peer Review: Experimental Evidence on the Backlash Against Women

Published Online:

This study experimentally investigates gender quotas in light of peer review. We investigate competitions with and without gender quotas and a peer review process that allows for sabotage. Our findings show that the possibility of peer sabotage renders the gender quota ineffective in encouraging women to enter tournaments. Moreover, we provide evidence of a severe backlash against women, as they become targets of sabotage under gender quotas. Interestingly, this is the result of women focusing on sabotaging each other while men sabotage indiscriminately. Our results have implications for the use of quotas to mitigate the underrepresentation and underperformance of minority groups in environments in which peer sabotage is possible.

Data and the online appendix are available at

This paper was accepted by Uri Gneezy, behavioral economics.

INFORMS site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; Others help us improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Please read our Privacy Statement to learn more.