Cornell University

Labor Economics Workshop: Melanie Wasserman

Monday, April 15, 2024 at 11:40am to 12:55pm

Ives Hall, 111
B07 Tower Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Melanie Wasserman, UCLA

The Effects of Gender Integration on Men: Evidence from the U.S. Military

Abstract: How do men respond when women first enter an occupation? In 2016, the U.S. military removed one of the final explicit occupational barriers to women in the U.S. by opening all positions to women, including historically male-only combat occupations. This policy change provides a rare opportunity to study the initial gender integration of an occupation. The effects of introducing women into a previously all-male group or occupation are theoretically ambiguous. Increasing gender diversity could leverage complementary skills and ideas, boosting individual and team performance. Alternatively, integrating women could create communication obstacles, lead to interpersonal conflict, or incite retaliatory behavior, potentially diminishing both group performance and the performance of men themselves. In this paper, we exploit the staggered integration of women into combat units to estimate the causal effects of the introduction of female colleagues on men’s job performance and satisfaction, using monthly administrative personnel records and rich survey responses measuring workplace climate. We find little evidence that integrating women into previously all-male units negatively impacts men’s performance and behavior. Many of our results are precise enough to rule out small, detrimental effects. However, the integration of women causes a negative shift in male soldiers’—especially officers’—perceptions of workplace quality, including job satisfaction, organizational effectiveness, and the organization’s ability to address potential incidents of sexual harassment/assault. Additionally, the negative effects of integration on men’s perceptions of workplace quality are confined to units that integrate with at least one female officer. We discuss how these findings shed light on the role of gender identity concerns in explaining occupational segregation by gender.

Google Calendar iCal Outlook
Event Type

Seminar, Class/ Workshop




economics, ILR, ILR School, EconSeminar, EconLabor

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Robin Tilling


Melanie Wasserman

Speaker Affiliation


Open To

Cornell Economics Community (Listserv Members)