The Difference Blog by Dan4th (differenceblog) wrote,

Haggling: Babcock and Bowles

As discussed in April ("Getting what you deserve", 4/13/07), men are repeatedly shown to negotiate for higher pay more often than women. Linda C. Babcock and Hannah Riley Bowles think this isn't just about getting women to speak up: "This isn't about fixing the women... [women] are responding to incentives within the social environment." Bowles told The Washington Post (2007). What Bowles and Babcock have found is that women are more penalized for negotiations than men. Babcock, Bowles, and Lai (2004) found that women who negotiated for higher salary were judged more harshly than men who did. Babcock, Bowles, and Lai (2005) further determined that men only penalized women for negotiating, while women penalized both sexes. Bowles, Babcock, and Lai (2004) also suggest that there's a link between how ambitious a negotiator's goals are and how disliked they become during the course of negotiation.

Not that Bowles is against teaching negotiation to women; her book Women Don't Ask (2003) with Sara Laschever released a new edition earlier this year. Bowles, Babcock, and McGinn (2005) suggest some mediating and moderating factors for the gender effect on salary negotiation such as "the degree of uncertainty in parties’ understanding of the economic structure of the negotiation" makes a huge difference. Where uncertainty is low, women do nearly as well as men in negotiating. Training may be able to reduce the ambiguity for women.

So. How do we fix it? Funny that we were just talking about self-perpetuating differences yesterday in the comments. Women don't ask for more money, so it stands out more when they do. A woman asking for more money is rare; a man asking for more money is normal. So when a woman asks for more money, she's "unpleasant", and she doesn't get the job, or deals with resentment. Next time she doesn't ask. The man asks for more money, gets more money, and next time he asks again. How does this tie in with structural ambiguity? Perhaps it is just that when negotiations are understood to be part of the culture, women do it more often, and the rarity factor declines.

Buy a link
Tags: careers, gender, gender differences, hannah bowles, kathleen mcginn, lei lai, linda babcock, money, negotiations, sara laschever, sex differences, wage gap, washington post
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded