fbpx Gender Differences in Volunteer’s Dilemma: Evidence From Teamwork Among Graduate Students | Harvard Kennedy School

HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Abstract

Undertaking logistical tasks in a teamwork setting exhibits a volunteer’s dilemma: it takes only one volunteer to take a costly action to generate a benefit to the entire team. Using naturally-occurring data in a top graduate professional school, I show that female students volunteer significantly more than male students in booking rooms for team meetings. I also find that the gender difference in undertaking this logistical task is statistically and quantitatively significant only when students have limited interaction prior to teamwork. This suggests that when students’ preferences are not completely known to each other, gender stereotyping—beliefs that most female students will undertake such tasks or some male students will not—may disfavor female students who end up bearing a cost higher than males. Even though booking a room involves a relatively small time cost, such costs can add up, and also contribute to gender stereotyping in allocation of tasks in other team settings.

Citation

Dogan, Pinar. "Gender Differences in Volunteer’s Dilemma: Evidence From Teamwork Among Graduate Students." Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics 84 (February 2020): 101488.