Revealing side effects of quota rules on group cooperation

Dr. Monika Leszczynska, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University

Throughout the last decade, various measures aiming to eliminate the existing underrepresentation of women in leadership have been suggested, discussed and implemented. Besides the anonymization of job applications and special career training for women, mandatory gender quotas have been introduced and become a subject of controversial discussion. The strength of a gender quota lies in its effectiveness, as the percentage of women in specific sectors is raised within a defined time period. But how do gender quotas affect various aspects of professional life, such as willingness to compete and apply for leadership positions, competence perception of “quota” women or team performance?

Together with my collaborators, I studied one of these aspects. In two fully incentivized experiments involving a real-effort task (N1 = 188 and N2 = 268), we examined the impact of quotas as compared to performance-based promotion on group cooperation. We thereby categorized participants either with regard to gender or to an artificial category that was randomly assigned. Cooperation within groups declined when promotion was based on quota compared to performance-based promotion, irrespective of the categorization criterion. Further analyses revealed that this negative effect of quota rules on cooperation is not driven by procedural fairness perceptions or expectations about performance of the promoted group member. Implications of the results for the implementation of equality and diversity initiatives will be discussed.

About the speaker

Monika Leszczynska is Assistant Professor of Empirical Legal Research at the Maastricht University Faculty of Law, Netherlands. She received her PhD in law from University of Bonn (Germany). In her research, she uses laboratory and online experiments as well as content analysis to deliver evidence-based insights to legal decision-makers on the impact of law on human behavior. Among others, she has researched how gender quotas influence group cooperation. She also studies how individuals make decisions in the online environment, i.e., how zero-price offers affect people’s decisions about their contractual rights and privacy. This research project has been funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. Monika holds a master’s degree in law from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland), LLM degrees from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich (Germany) and New York University. In 2016/2017 she was a post-doctoral fellow at the New York University School of Law. During her doctoral studies, she was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn (Germany).

Venue: Conference room (0.16 / 0.17)

Date: 12 September 2019

Time: 12:00 - 13:00