We are pleased to support the research of UC Berkeley faculty and PhD students who are examining topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Contact Geneveive Smith for more information or to express interest in submitting a grant application for 2020-2021.

Faculty Grantees

Ming Hsu

Predicting unequal treatment in the field

Disparities in outcomes across social groups pervade human societies; how people treat others depends on a multitude of factors, including others’ gender, ethnicity, and age.  This project proposes to explain and predict instances of unequal treatment documented in field settings, by integrating psychological frameworks of how people see others (social perception) with behavioral economic models of how people value others’ outcomes (social valuation).

Przemyslaw Jeziorski

Przemyslaw Jeziorski

Evaluating the impact of training and credit on retail performance

This project aims at identifying the impact of wholesale credit and training availability on the performance of small entrepreneurs. In collaboration with MasterCard and Unilever, we developed a large scale field experiment in rural Kenya in which access to credit and training is randomly allocated amongst more than 900 retail owners. The hypothesis is that extra credit and training would improve the performance of small business owners. Moreover, we plan to measure the degree of interaction between the availability of training and credit adoption, as well as efficiency of its utilization. In our credit program, the credit allocation decision does not depend on recipient demographics, such as gender, and it does not rely on the availability of co-signers. This is in comparison to other credit initiatives available in the market. For this reason, our credit program may be considered more inclusive that competing credit streams. To investigate that possibility we intend to measure the effect of this program on women and minorities combining the data of credit adoption and utilization, with the data from unique field surveys.

Juliana Schroeder

Juliana Schroeder

Difficult conversations: How to structure conversations that cross divides

How can we make conversations about addressing diversity (e.g., gender discrimination) more respectful and effective when people disagree? This research will examine how a critical feature of conversations—the communication medium by which they occur—influences felt understanding and respect among the conversationalists. It will also test how the effect of the medium differs for the majority versus minority member in the conversation. We specifically propose that spoken conversations will lead to more understanding, and hence more respectful discourse, than text conversations. Further, the effect of medium will be bigger for the majority than minority member because the majority member particularly lacks understanding about the minority position. This work will address one way in which difficult conversations around DEI can be better structured to enhance understanding and respect.

Guo Xu

Guo Xu

Speaking up: Leadership, culture, and performance

This project studies how leaders shape the culture and performance of organizations. We study if the identity of subcommittee chairs in the US Congress shapes participation and behavior in subcommittee meetings. We ask if “inclusive” chairs increase the participation of women, improve cooperation and ultimately lead to more consensus in subcommittees. This is important: if non-inclusive norms of chairs limit the participation of elected members of Congress, it could affect legislative decision-making and ultimately pose a barrier to effective political representation. More broadly, the project provides empirical evidence for the role of leadership in shifting the culture of organizations. We use rich biographical data on chairs and detailed transcripts of subcommittee meetings to measure inclusiveness, participation and behavior like interruptions on a granular level.

PhD Grantees

Derek Brown

Whites’ misperceptions of Black advancement: A zero-sum perspective of organizational diversity policies

With this research, we hope to better understand why policies targeted at improving equality, such as diversity policies, are construed as harmful to white Americans. To do so, we will test the prediction that white Americans’ perceive policies aimed at shrinking inequality as losses to their group, even when the policies themselves improve the fates of everyone. Implanted in a rich, yet developing, body of research demonstrating the existence of zero-sum beliefs (Norton & Sommers, 2011), our research questions whether the idea of equality, itself, motivates perceptions of relative disadvantage. This mindset, we argue, may impose significant barriers to our ability to effectively address and inevitably reduce prejudice and discrimination within organizations and throughout society.

Sonya Mishra

Escaping backlash: How status-seeking women can gain influence without incurring backlash

As women are increasing in representation in the workforce but remain underrepresented in C-suite positions, understanding how women may position themselves to gain influence in the workplace is crucial. The traditional methods of gaining influence are through power (control of resources) or status (respect in the eyes of others). While women who use power-seeking tactics to gain influence often face backlash and are perceived more negatively, I posit that women who use status-seeking tactics to gain influence may be able to escape that backlash due to the fact that status-seeking behavior is stereotypically consistent with women’s gender roles. By testing whether status-seeking women are perceived to be less norm violating and exploring the broader impressions of status-seeking women, this research can provide prescriptive advice to women who are seeking positions of influence, but do not want to face the backlash associated with power-seeking behaviors.

Michael Rosenblum

Gendered imperfection backlash: Female candidates suffer greater loss of trust for their flaws

We are seeking to understand differences in perceptions of the trustworthiness of male and female candidates with “clean records,” vs. those who have histories containing mistakes and imperfections. Our central hypothesis is that there is an interaction between candidate gender and the presence of an imperfect record, such that women candidates without a blemished record will be preferred (rated more positively/trusted) to men without a blemished record, but that women candidates with a blemished record will be rated less positively than men with a blemished record. This work has implications for promoting gender parity in leadership positions, improving the lives of men and women across the nation in a concrete way, dismantling barriers to success that impede women and enabling for a more productive, efficient, and expansive economy.

Gauri Subramani

Try, try, try again? Persistence and the gender innovation gap

Innovation plays an important role in the United States’ economy and society, but inventors are not representative of the population at large; in 2010, only 18.8% of patents had at least one female inventor, and only 8% of all patents had a woman listed as primary inventor. In this project, we examine the drivers of the gender gap in innovation as measured by patent outcomes. We document the gender disparities in innovation as measured by differential patent application and patent receipt rates, and evaluate the role of persistence in driving gender disparities in patent outcomes. We further examine how organizations and resource availability can mediate the gender effects of persistence.

Charlotte (Charlie) Townsend

Examining the influence of gender role mindsets on couples' quest for having it all

Gender role mindsets influence the extent to which gender and particular social roles are thought to be fixed versus malleable. Fixed gender role mindsets hold that social roles, such as breadwinner and caretaker, are fixed to men and women, respectively. Growth gender role mindsets hold that social roles are tied to interests, skills, and opportunities. With an increasingly gender diverse workforce, the “two bodies problem,” which characterizes the challenges that dual-career couples face, will only grow unless people and organizations are willing to adopt flexible mindsets and new policies that enable both members of a couple to thrive. In this research we will examine the relationship between gender role mindsets of individuals within couples. We are interested in examining whether people and their partners’ gender role mindsets are related to their career choices, as well as relationship satisfaction, job satisfaction, role conflict, and relationship/marriage satisfaction.

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