It’s been six weeks since Trump’s presidency began, and the cultural shifts are already taking root it seems. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business examined the way men bargain with women and found that prior to Trump’s victory in November, men tended to work things out gently.
But the election may have killed any chivalry, as men were more likely to engage in tough talk, according to the study, which also found that men were less effective for it.
— RT America (@RT_America) January 28, 2017
Assistant professor Corinne Low and Wharton doctoral student Jennie Huang were studying how communication styles differ across genders, but accidentally discovered that the election may have caused a major shift in negotiation.
Low and Huang arranged for test subjects to play a game called “Battle of the Sexes,” where participants were randomly paired with each other and instructed to negotiate over $20. The game was simple: one participant could get $15 and the other could get $5. Should the subjects not reach an agreement, neither received any money.
Low and Huang compared tests done in October versus November and found a large spike in men who hardlined for $15 and accepted no alternatives. They explain in their paper, “Trumping the Norm,” which will be published in the May issue of “American Economics Review: Papers and Proceedings” that all participants were matched randomly and only knew the gender of the person they were partnered with.
When their subjects consulted in an online chatroom, only 154 of October’s 232 participants needed multiple interactions to determine their course of action. When men engaged in negotiations with women before the election, the study found that they were more likely to display “what could be classified as ‘chivalry’ toward female partners.”
But that soon changed and tests taken a week after the election found that the number of men who demanded $15 or nothing increased by 140 percent. The number of people who left their conversations empty handed almost increased drastically.
There is a catch to this, however. The tests done in October were some of the first for the paper and may have not accurately represented the gender-based compromise tactics of UPenn. In addition, the November subjects were tested following a tense week at the college where a number of black students were added to a “racist social media group with shockingly racist words and images,” she wrote in the paper.
— RT America (@RT_America) January 26, 2017
Events like these may not seem directly related to the study, but can still have an impact on people’s behavior. Low wrote, “we cannot rule out that our results are partly driven by these specific on campus events, in addition to the broader national context.“
However, the results held true when they restricted the population by factors like race or political party and examined matched sample results to test for variations.
Whether the results from the study are the result of President Trump’s election is also unknown.
“I’m an economist, so I’ll stay in my lane,” Low said, adding, however, “It’s not something we can 100 percent rule out, but it really suggests to us that it’s people’s behavior that’s changing, rather than that it’s the people who are changing.”