BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE

A costly reluctance to speak out

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Science  17 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6207, pp. 311-312
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6207.311-e

Decision-making in groups depends not only on whether any of the group members knows the right answer but also on whether the most informed members actually speak up. Coffman examined the propensity to contribute one's ideas in a pared-down laboratory knowledge test in which other factors, such as discrimination and argumentativeness, do not play a role by design. She found that undergraduate women contribute their answer to the group less often than undergraduate men. The authors observed that this was subject area–dependent: women showed the least amount of reluctance for the most femalestereotyped subject area, arts, and the greatest amount for the most male-stereotyped subject, sports.

Quart. J. Econ. 129, 10.1093/qje/qju023 (2014).

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