Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Laura Doering ─ The Effects of Gendered Occupational Roles on Men's and Women's Workplace Authority: Evidence from Microfinance

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

4 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

Research in sociology and social psychology has documented how the gendering of occupational roles can affect a variety of outcomes for workers and organizations. Although laboratory experiments offer insights into the processes by which occupational roles become gendered and lead to systematically gendered outcomes, there is a relative dearth of evidence from field settings. Such field-based evidence is scarce because existing occupations are rarely gender balanced and workers’ tasks often change with new occupants. In the present paper, we fill this gap by utilizing unique data from a commercial microfinance bank in Central America. We examine how the occupational role of a loan manager becomes gendered, and how such initial gendering affects the authority of subsequent role occupants. Our findings both confirm and extend existing research. On average, male loan managers are more likely to obtain borrower compliance (i.e. on-time loan payments) than female managers. However, the gender of the initial manager continues to shape clients’ compliance even when clients are transferred to a second manager. Overall, this paper offers a unique empirical test of existing theories and demonstrates how a single individual can inscribe gendered expectations onto an occupational role, thereby generating divergent outcomes for male and female managers.

Download the paper here.

Laura Doering is an assistant professor of strategic management at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. As an economic sociologist, her research examines how micro-level decisions, relationships, and circumstances affect economic outcomes in developing countries. Substantively, she focuses on entrepreneurship and capital access in low-income areas. A former Fulbright Scholar, Professor Doering’s research has received a number of awards, including the Burt Outstanding Paper Award from the Economic Sociology Section of the ASA. She teaches Entrepreneurship for Social Ventures at Rotman.

Development Seminar