Do women receive less blame than men? Attribution of outcomes in a prosocial setting

Nisvan Erkal, Lata Gangadharan, Boon Han Koh

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We examine gender biases in the attribution of leaders’ outcomes to their choices versus luck. Leaders make unobservable investment choices that affect the payoffs of group members. High investment is costly to the leader but increases the probability of an outcome with a high payoff. We observe gender biases in the attribution of low outcomes. Low outcomes of male (female) leaders are attributed more to their selfish decisions (bad luck). These biases are driven by male evaluators. We find no gender differences in the attribution of high outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-452
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Early online date4 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Attribution biases
  • Beliefs
  • Gender biases
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Leadership
  • Social preferences

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