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

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2017.2772

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 https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2017.2772.

This paper was accepted by Uri Gneezy, behavioral economics.

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