We present an information based model of leadership in a setting that exhibits the familiar problems of free riding and coordination failure. Leaders have superior information about the value of the project in hand and can send a costly signal to their uninformed followers to persuade them to cooperate in the project. Followers voluntarily choose whether or not to follow the better informed leader. We provide experimental evidence that, when the leaders’ gender is revealed to their followers, female subjects hesitate to lead (send a costly signal) while followers’ behavior does not indicate any gender discrimination. Such behavior is not observed among the male leaders.
Komai, Mana and Grossman, Philip, "Leadership and Gender: An Experiment" (2008). Economics Faculty Working Papers. 8.