NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Christine L. Exley

Harvard Business School

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Institutional Affiliation: Harvard University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2018Equity Concerns are Narrowly Framed
with Judd B. Kessler: w25326
We show that individuals narrowly bracket their equity concerns. Across four experiments including 1,600 subjects, individuals equalize components of payoffs rather than overall payoffs. When earnings are comprised of "small tokens" worth 1 cent and "large tokens" worth 2 cents, subjects frequently equalize the distribution of small (or large) tokens rather than equalizing total earnings. When payoffs are comprised of time and money, subjects similarly equalize the distribution of time (or money) rather than total payoffs. In addition, subjects are more likely to equalize time than money. These findings can help explain a variety of behavioral phenomena including the structure of social insurance programs, patterns of public good provision, and why transactions that turn money into time ar...
December 2016Knowing When to Ask: The Cost of Leaning In
with Muriel Niederle, Lise Vesterlund: w22961
Gender differences in the propensity to negotiate are often used to explain the gender wage gap, popularizing the push for women to “lean-in.” We use a laboratory experiment to examine the effect of leaning-in. Despite men and women achieving similar and positive returns when they must negotiate, we find that women avoid negotiations more often than men. While this suggests that women would benefit from leaning-in, a direct test of the counterfactual proves otherwise. Women appear to positively select into negotiations and to know when to ask. By contrast, we find no significant evidence of a positive selection for men.
 
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