Baumeister on gender differences
(23-Jan-2013, 10:31 PM)Cityboy Wrote: Sure. Here is what I had in mind. For a formal treatment, let me start off with some notation. Let:

T be a random variable that denotes the intrinsic talent of an individual, where intrinsic talent is not observable.

Z be a random variable that denotes measurement noise that is independent of T.

Let M denote observed performance or talent i.e. M = T + Z

For the sake of argument, lets assume the distributions of T and Z are not different across men and women, thus ruling out hypothesis (a) of my prior post.

However lets give a role for hypothesis (b) of my prior post. Say a resource that helps develop talent/skill is allocated (by culture) to males more generously than to females, based on observation of a person's gender. Specifically, a resource is given to a female when her M exceeds a threshold X, whereas the same resource is given to a male when his M exceeds a threshold Y, where X > Y. In other words, a female has to be extra good before she is provided a resource that adds value to her development.

Now lets compare males and females who received the resouce i.e. were successful in beating their respective thresholds. I would expect the average female in this subgroup to be better than the average male in this subgroup.

But your model ignores that measurement (observed performance) might be negatively biased against women, ie Z might be different for women and men.

However, one can still argue that the extent of bias might not be same in all organizations. So those organizations where the bias was negligible or non-existent will on average have a workforce that is more fairly compensated/promoted than those where the bias was strong. This will lead to those organizations with negligible or non-existent bias to perform better than other organizations. Very soon the free market will force all other organizations to copy the measurement schemes used by these successful organizations. Over a period of time the bias will vanish across all organizations. So Z over this period could become the same for women and men in all organizations. Using a similar argument we can say that X and Y should be equal as well.

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