Without Inclusion, Racial Bias Blocks Learning/Paying to Cross the Gender Gap



Without Inclusion, Racial Bias Blocks Learning

Racial diversity is considered a boon to performance, but its alleged benefits have been slow to materialize. We study the role of inclusion: In diverse settings, how willing are members of a racial majority to learn from members of a minority? We answer in three experiments, in which US-based Whites are asked to make an incentivized choice after observing similar decisions by two peers, identifiable only by their first names: either White- or Black-sounding. We find that Whites are much less likely to learn from Black than White peers (n=296). But the bias dissipates if Whites observe that Blacks repeatedly perform well (n=208) or when apprised in advance of the Black peers’ performance (n=252). To reap benefits, diversity must be accompanied by informed inclusion

Paying to Cross the Gender Gap

Gender diversity is desirable yet elusive. Weaving evidence from economics and psychology, we investigate whether gender segregation is related to differences in contribution to teamwork. In Study 1, using a public goods game, we find that mixed-gender teams elicit lower contributions than all-male or all-female teams. Although both genders are less cooperative in mixed settings, males are particularly prone to contributing less, withholding reciprocity, and exploiting their peers. As a result, females in mixed-gender groups receive the lowest contributions. Thus, gender segregation may benefit women (and men). But in Study 2 we suggest an alternative: When male participants can pay to choose their counterparts, most choose females. Those who pay to be matched are much more likely to contribute, reciprocate, and act fairly. The evidence explains the prevalence of gender segregation and the strains of mixed-gender teams, but it offers a path to increase gender diversity — and performance.