Lab Events

Discrimination in Evaluation Criteria: The Role of Beliefs versus Outcome

Boon Han Koh

Discrimination in Evaluation Criteria: The Role of Beliefs versus Outcome

by Boon Han Koh (University of Exeter Business School)

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We investigate whether different criteria are used in evaluating male and female leaders when outcomes are determined by unobservable choices and luck. Evaluators form beliefs about leaders’ choices and make discretionary payments. We find that while payments to male leaders are determined by both outcomes and evaluators’ beliefs, those to female leaders are determined by outcomes only. We label this new source of gender bias as the gender criteria gap. Our findings imply that high outcomes are necessary for women to get bonuses, but men can receive bonuses for low outcomes as long as evaluators hold them in high regard.


Boon Han is currently a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the University of Exeter Business School. He previously worked at the University of East Anglia, after completing his PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2018. Boon Han's primary research interests are in the fields of experimental and behavioral economics, with a focus on: discrimination and identity; information processing and belief formation; and experimental methodology. He has received research funding from the British Council, British Academy, Australian Research Council, and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. His research has been published in European Economic ReviewExperimental EconomicsJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Southern Economic Journal, and Journal of Economic Psychology. He is currently editing a Special Issue on Discrimination & Diversity at the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.