The Gender Gap in Confidence: Expected But Not Accounted For
Christine L. Exley
American Economic Review (Forthcoming)
We investigate how the gender gap in confidence affects the views
that evaluators (e.g., employers) hold about men and women. We
find that the confidence gap is contagious, causing evaluators to
form overly pessimistic beliefs about women. This result arises
even though the confidence gap is expected and even though the
confidence gap shouldn't be contagious if evaluators are Bayesian.
Only an intervention that facilitates Bayesian updating proves
(somewhat) effective. Additional results highlight how similar findings follow even when there is no room for discriminatory motives
or differences in priors because evaluators are asked about arbi-
trary, rather than gender-specific, groups.