Speaker: Lise Vesterlund, Ph.D.
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Economics
University of Pittsburgh
Talk Title: Breaking the Glass Ceiling with “No”: Gender Differences in Accepting and Receiving Requests for Non-Promotable Tasks
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Time: 2:30pm – 4:00pm
Location: 19 W 4th Street, Room 517, NYU
Dr. Lise Vesterlund is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on understanding how and why we give to charity, and on why men are more successful than women in climbing the corporate ladder. Using experimental methods she has documented behavioral differences that can contribute to the persistent vertical gender segregation. Dr. Vesterlund has shown that relative to equally able men, women are more reluctant to enter competitions, less likely to overestimate their relative ability, and more likely to accept or volunteer for non-promotable task assignments. In acknowledging these differences, her work points to the mechanisms that can be put in place to ensure that the best-qualified candidates are those promoted. She received her a B.A. in economics from the University of Copenhagen, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin.
Gender differences in task allocations may help sustain vertical gender segregation in labor markets. If women hold more non-promotable tasks then they may progress more slowly than men in organizations. Examining environments where a volunteer must be found for a task that everyone prefers be completed by someone else (writing a report, serving on a committee, etc.) we find that, relative to men, women more frequently volunteer, more frequently are asked to volunteer, and more frequently accept requests to volunteer. These differences are consistent with the belief that women, less than men, say ‘No’ to request to perform non-promotable tasks.