Study Examines If Single Women Downplay Their Ambition Around Single Men

A new study by economists at Harvard University, Princeton University, and the University of Chicago, finds that single professional women tend to downplay their accomplishments and not to reveal their ambitions, perhaps, according to the authors, because this may make them “undesirable in the marriage market.”

In an experiment, men and women in a leading MBA program were given a questionnaire on job preferences. Some participants were told that their answers would be confidential. Other participants were told that their male and female classmates would have access to their responses. The results showed that single women reported desired yearly compensation $18,000 lower and being willing to travel seven fewer days per month and work four fewer hours per week when they expected their classmates would see their answers.

The study, “‘Acting Wife’: Marriage Market Incentives and Labor Market Investments,” is a working paper of the National Bureau of Economic Research. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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