Falch presents at UC Santa Barbara

14 March 2017 13:24

(updated: 14 March 2017 13:31)

Falch presents at UC Santa Barbara

On 14 March, The Choice Lab’s PhD student Ranveig Falch presents the paper “The boy crisis: Experimental evidence on the acceptance of males falling behind.” which is joint work with The Choice Lab researchers Alexander W. Cappelen and Bertil Tungodden.

Falch is currently visiting UC Berkeley, as part of her PhD studies.


It is well established that there is a gender bias in top-level jobs where males dominate. However, there is also an increasing worry of a gender bias in the lower tale of education and labor market outcomes, often termed the 'boy crisis'. What can explain these patterns? In this project, we study experimentally whether people consider it more acceptable when males fall behind than when females do, using a novel design implemented on a representative sample of Americans. The participants make distributive choices involving males and females and we randomly manipulate the gender composition in the distributive situations. We show that people find it more acceptable when males fall behind than when females do when outcomes reflect merit. We provide evidence showing that this result is not driven by a general preference for females, but is specific to how people redistribute in merit environments where males perform worse than females. We argue that this finding may shed light on the gender discrimination against males in different parts of society, on the 'boy crisis' and why males increasingly lag behind females in merit settings such as in education and in the lower tale of the labor market.