Dr. Stoddard employs experimental methodology to study issues of coordination and cooperation in demographically-diverse groups. Her research also examines gender differences in competitiveness and political ambition.
"On Using Interval Response Data in Experimental Economics" (with James McDonald and Daniel Walton). Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 72, 9-16. 2018.
"Effort, luck, and voting for redistribution" (with Lars Lefgren and David Sims). Journal of Public Economics, 143. 2016.
"Run, Jane, Run! The Gender Gap in Responses to Political Recruitment" (with Jessica Preece). Political Behavior, 38(3), 561-577, 2016.
"Why women don't run: Experimental evidence on gender differences in competition aversion" (with Jessica Preece). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 117, 296-308, 2015. "Does the message matter? A field experiment on political party recruitment" (with Jessica Preece). Journal of Experimental Political Science., 2:1-10, 2015.
"Fire-sale FDI: Impact of Financial Crises on Foreign Direct Investment" (with Ilan Noy).Review of Development Economics, 19(2), 387-399, 2015."An Experimental Study on the Relevance and Scope of Nationality as a Coordination Device" (with Andreas Leibbrandt). Economic Inquiry, 52:4, 1392-1407, 2014.
"Increasing Workplace Diversity: Evidence from a Recruiting Experiment at a Fortune 500 Company" (with Jeffrey Flory, Andreas Leibbrandt and Christina Rott)
The persistent lack of workplace diversity in management and leadership may lead to organizational vulnerabilities. White males occupy most high-profile positions in the largest U.S. corporations whereas African Americans, Hispanics, and women are clearly underrepresented in leadership roles. While many firms and other organizations have set ambitious goals to increase demographic diversity, there is a dearth nof empirical evidence on effective ways to reach them. We use a natural field experiment to test several hypotheses on effective means to attract minority candidates for top professional careers. By randomly varying the content in recruiting materials of a major financial services corporation with over 10,000 employees, we test different types of signals regarding the extent and manner in which the employer values diversity among its workers. We find that signaling explicit interest in employee diversity can reverse the ethnicity gap in rates of interest and applications, and that it has a strong positive effect on interest in openings among racial minority candidates, the likelihood that they apply, and the probability that they are selected. These results uncover an effective method for disrupting monocultures in management through a minor intervention that influences sorting among job-seekers into high-profile careers.
"Are two bads better than one? A model of sensory limitations" (with Lars Lefgren and John Stovall)
We present a theoretical framework which explains the optimizing behavior of individuals who are exposed to many latent stimuli but prone to experience only the most salient one. We show that individuals with such preferences may find it optimal to engage in seemingly dysfunctional behavior such as self-harm. Our model also explains the behavior of individuals experiencing depression or trapped by multiple competing problems. We present experimental evidence suggesting such preferences explain the behavior of more than two thirds of subjects exposed to single and multiple painful stimuli.
"The Other 1%: Class Contamination and Voting for Redistribution" NBER Wokring Paper No 224617 (with Lars Lefgren and David Sims)
We perform an experiment to measure how changes in the effort exerted by a small fraction of a low-reward group affect the willingness of the high-reward group to vote for redistributive taxation. We find that a substantial fraction of high reward subjects vote in favor of greater redistribution when a very small fraction of high-effort individuals is added to a pool of otherwise low-effort poor. Also, contaminating a group of high-effort poor with a small number of low-effort individuals causes the most generous rich subjects to vote for less redistribution. These results suggest that anecdotes about the deservedness of a small group of transfer recipients may be effective in changing support for redistribution. We find large gender differences in the results. Relative to men, women respond three times more strongly to the existence of deserving individuals among the poor. This behavior may help explain gender differences in support for redistribution more generally.
"Leaning back: experiment on cooperation and communication in mixed gender teams. " (with Joseph Price)
We study experimentally the effect of priming subjects' gender identity on their collaboration and communication in mixed-gender teams with a real-effort laboratory task. We find that priming gender identity seems to evoke stereotypes about men and women's roles in communication, causing men to be more vocal and women to communicate less. This leads to a significant increase in imbalanced communication patterns in mixed-gender teams, as compared to same-gender pairings. Despite these imbalances in communication, however, we find that mixed-gender groups perform better on the task than same-gender pairings. We discuss potential explanations for these effects.
"The Effects of Group Gender Composition on Group Performance and Dynamics" (with Chris Karpowitz and Jessica Preece)
Prior research has shown that gender composition can profoundly affect group-level outcomes and dynamics, but most of these findings are based on lab experiments in which participants interact only briefly. Outside of the lab, scholars know very little about how a group’s gender dynamics change when real-world groups meet extensively over time. We randomize gender composition of semester-long groups in one of the top undergraduate accounting programs in the US and measure individual and group-level outcomes through lab observation, surveys and behavioral outcomes. Initial results show that when women are a minority in a group, they face a severe deficit in participation and authority at the beginning of the semester. Though we find some evidence that the gap between men and women in self-reports of participation and influence narrows over the course of the semester, it does not appear that repeated interaction substantially improves women’s observed participation and influence.
"Gender Quotas, Stigma, and Symbolic Representation: Experimental Evidence from Uganda"
Legislative quotas for women are hypothesized to increase women's view of themselves as potential political leaders through their symbolic representation function. Yet, the extensive psychology literature on affirmative action raises the question of whether quota policies actually generate a "stigma of incompetence" that leads to lower levels of confidence and ambition. Thus, it remains unclear whether quota policies ultimately help or harm women's view of themselves as prospective political leaders. Hence, we perform a field experiment with 522 female Makarere University students in Kampala, Uganda that measures the effect on political ambition of reminding participants of the reserved seats for women in Uganda politics. Students were invited to a candidate training seminar using a neutral invitation or one that primes participants to consider the quota policy. We measured self-reported interest in attending the seminar, along with registration and attendance data. We also recorded participants' oral free-response to a question regarding why they were or were not interested in running for office. We find that the quota treatment had little effect on women's revealed political ambition, which suggests that neither the optimistic claims of quota proponents nor the pessimistic claims of quota skeptics are at play in Uganda.
"Sharing as risk pooling in a social dilemma experiment" (with Lance Howe and Jim Murphy)
In rural economies with missing or incomplete markets, idiosyncratic risk is frequently pooled through informal networks. Idiosyncratic shocks, however, are not limited to private goods but can also restrict an individual from benefiting from a collective activity. In these situations, a group must decide whether to provide insurance to the affected member. In this paper, we describe results of a field experiment in Kamchatka, Russia designed to test whether a simple sharing institution can sustain risk pooling in a social dilemma with idiosyncratic risk. We test whether risk can be pooled without a commitment devise and, separately, whether effective risk pooling induces greater cooperation in the social dilemma. We find that even in the absence of a commitment device or reputaional considerations, subjects voluntarily pool risk thereby reducing variance in individual earnings. In spite of effective risk pooling, however, cooperation in the social dilemma is unaffected.
Prospect of upward mobility: Experimental Evidence (with Lars Lefgren and David Sims)
Published & Working Papers
Olga B. Stoddard