Gender Gaps: Causes and Origins

Alison Booth is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Australian National University, and a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), London and of the IZA Bonn. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a Founding Fellow of the European Association of Labour Economists, and recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Fellow Award from the Economic Society of Australia. She obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics.

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Date & Time

October 12, 2023
5:30 - 7:00pm


RSSS Auditorium, ANU Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) 146 Ellery Cres, Acton ACT 2601, Australia

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Keith Hancock Lecture 2023: Presented by Emeritus Professor Alison Booth

Gender Gaps: Causes and Origins

Recent research in experimental and behavioural economics has focused on the role that preferences might play in explaining economic outcomes. These preferences include attitudes to risk and willingness to compete, which can shape gender differences. In the 2023 Keith Hancock Lecture, Emeritus Prof Alison Booth will draw on her recent research that utilises both laboratory experiments and field experiments. She will show how gender differences in willingness to compete vary across diverse environments. These include: (i) different birth cohorts in China and Taiwan, (ii) a competitive sport in Japan that randomly assigns participants into mixed-sex and single-sex races, and (iii) university students in the UK. The lecture will illustrate how the environment in which individuals are placed can affect economically important preferences and behaviour. In addressing the malleability of male and female preferences, the research suggests that male dominance over women is not a biological default state nor are preferences exogenous. Instead, they are likely driven by social constructs.

The Keith Hancock Lecture is named in honour of Emeritus Professor Keith Hancock AO – a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia since 1968, Academy President for the period 1981–1984 and an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics. The annual lecture was inaugurated in 2009. Each year, a distinguished social scientist is invited to present the Keith Hancock Lecture.

This lecture is jointly hosted by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian National University.

The lecture will be followed by a reception with light refreshments.

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