HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Co-Director, Women and Public Policy Program
Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government


Managers’ subjective appraisals of their employees’ performance and employees’ self-evaluations might be affected by demographic characteristics. As self-evaluations are typically shared with managers before they rate employees, social influence may contribute to gender or race differences in performance ratings. Analyzing data from a multi-national firm, we find gender and intersectionality differences in self-ratings, and race and intersectionality differences in manager ratings, leading to female employees of color being assigned the lowest final ratings. We evaluate a quasi-exogenous shock leading to self-evaluations being kept from managers before they appraised employees. This intervention disrupted social influence to some degree, lowering manager ratings and closing the evaluation gap for women of color in their first year of employment. It did not change overall gender or race dynamics. Race dynamics were particularly pronounced in the US where 22-28% of Black employees’ manager ratings would have to be increased for this race gap to disappear.


Bohnet, Iris, Oliver P. Hauser, and Ariella Kristal. "Can Gender and Race Dynamics in Performance Appraisals be Disrupted? The Case of Social Influence." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP21-016, Working Paper.