ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Stereotypical Occupational Segregation and Gender Inequality

An Experimental Study

This paper attempts to distinguish "trust in cooperation" and "trust in ability" with respect to gender in an experimental trust game. "Trust in ability" with respect to gender is explored in the context of hands-on mechanical ability where females are stereotypically believed to be inefficient. Such stereotypes govern, directly or indirectly, women's access to education and employment, resulting in occupational segregation of the labour market. All this further intensifies gender inequality. We observed higher probability of exhibiting stereotype among men and women paired with other women, despite a statistically insignificant gender gap in actual mechanical performances. This indicates that "trust in ability" can be governed by such stereotypes and affect economic outcomes. We seek causes of the prevalence of gender stereotype in evolutionary psychology. We also describe the demotivating psychological process women suffered from, due to endorsement of such stereotypes by society.

This research work is funded by the Centre for Computational Social Sciences. Our greatest debt is to the anonymous referee for suggesting variation in the standard trust game and other experimental procedures that increase the internal validity of our results. We are grateful to Vivek Belhekar, department of psychology, University of Mumbai for his expert opinion. We thank Abodh Kumar, Renita D’Souza, Sneha Thayyil, Vaibhavi Deshpande, Jijo Jose, Pinky Rajoria and Parinaz Mehta for their support in conducting the experiments. We also acknowledge the cooperative participation of students from various colleges in Mumbai and Pune in the experiment.

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