Economic Opportunity

2015 Oct 15
Bobbi Thomason

Bobbi Thomason

Senior Fellow and Lecturer, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
WAPPP Fellow

Bobbi Thomason's research broadly examines how individual experience work and pursue their careers in globalizing and developing economies. Her research explores, for example, women's attainment of executive leadership in the Middle East and Africa, as well as men and women’s experiences negotiating in local or global settings.

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Unkovic, Cait, Maya Sen, and Kevin M Quinn. “Does Encouragement Matter in Improving Gender Imbalances in Technical Fields? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial”. HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series (2015). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Education policy research looking at gender imbalances in technical fields often relies on observational data or small N experimental studies. Taking a different approach, we present the results of one of the first and largest randomized controlled trials on the topic. Using the 2014 Political Methodology Annual Meeting as our context, half of a pool of 3,945 political science graduate students were randomly assigned to receive two personalized emails encouraging them to apply to the conference (n = 1,976), while the other half received nothing (n = 1,969). We find a robust, positive effect associated with this simple intervention and suggestive evidence that women respond more strongly than men. However, we find that women's conference acceptance rates are higher within the control group than in the treated group. This is not the case for men. The reason appears to be that female applicants in the treated group solicited supporting letters at lower rates. The contributions from this research are twofold. First, our findings are among the first large-scale randomized controlled interventions in higher education. Second, and less optimistically, our findings suggest that such "low dose" interventions may promote diversity in STEM fields, but that they have the potential to expose underlying disparities when used alone or in a non-targeted way.

2015 Sep 10

Women and Public Policy Program Open House

4:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman 102

Please join us to learn about the Women and Public Policy Program and our work of creating and sharing knowledge that helps close gender gaps in economic opportunity, political participation, health, and education. We will discuss our initiatives, fellowship stipends, and other student opportunities.  

Refreshments will be provided.  

RSVP not required.

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