Two experiments show that sex differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations may be explained by differential treatment of men and women when they attempt to negotiate. In Experiment 1, participants evaluated candidates who either accepted compensation offers without comment or attempted to negotiate higher compensation. Men only penalized female candidates for attempting to negotiate whereas women penalized both male and female candidates. Perceptions of niceness and demandingness mediated these effects. In Experiment 2, participants adopted candidates’ role in same scenario and assessed whether to accept the compensation offer or attempt to negotiate for more. Women were less likely than men to choose to negotiate when the evaluator was male, but not when the evaluator was female. This effect was mediated by women’s nervousness about negotiating with male evaluators. This work illuminates how differential treatment may influence the distribution of organizational resources through sex differences in the propensity to negotiate.
Bowles, Hannah Riley. "It Depends Who Is Asking and Who You Ask: Social Incentives for Sex Differences in the Propensity to Initiate Negotiation." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP05-045, July 2005.