Lab Events

Gender and leadership in organizations: The threat of backlash

Serra Danila
Danila Serra (Texas A&M University)

Gender and leadership in organizations: The threat of backlash

by Danila Serra (Texas A&M University)

You may follow the seminar at the following link: 


Decisions made by leaders please some people and upset others. We examine whether the possibility of backlash has a differential impact on men’s and women’s self-selection into leadership roles, and their decisions as leaders. In a laboratory experiment that simulates corporate decision-making, we find that women are significantly less likely to self-select into a leadership position when they can receive backlash. Once in a leadership role, women get more backlash. There are some gender differences in leaders’ decision-making and communication styles under the threat of backlash, but little difference in final outcomes. An online experiment sheds light on possible mechanisms.


Danila Serra is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M. Her research interests include: Economics of Corruption, Development Economics; Experimental and Behavioral Economics, Gender and Economics.