Power struggles and gender discrimination in the workplace

This code is used for the following paper:

Power struggles and gender discrimination in the workplace

In the realm of decision-making and biases, our study delves into the intriguing phenomenon of discrimination that can emerge even when individuals harbor no initial biases towards specific categories. Consider a scenario where a man observes a female driver having an accident—this might trigger confirmation of pre-existing biases about perceived differences in driving skills based on gender. However, intriguingly, when the roles are reversed, and the driver is a man, the observer might not necessarily consider the gender of the driver. This prompts us to explore the following questions:

Key Questions:

  • How does discrimination manifest itself when individuals lack an initial bias towards specific categories?
  • What environmental factors contribute to the amplification or mitigation of discrimination?
  • Agent-based evolutionary game theory allows for dynamic simulations that mirror the complex, evolving nature of social interactions.


This study explores the impact of power struggles on the emergence of gender discrimination within the organizational culture. Utilizing an agent-based model, we simulate power struggles as an asymmetric hawk and dove game where agents may categorize their opponents based on their observable traits to make effective decisions. Our model includes two categories: prestigious education and sex, with prestigious education having higher struggling power. We examine three categorization strategies: fine-grained, regular-grained, and coarse-grained categorization. Our results indicate that fine-grained categorizers gain an advantage when the cost of fighting is low. In contrast, coarse-grained categorizers become more peaceful, leading to an advantage when the cost of fighting is high. Our simulation reveals that although there is no meaningful difference between sexes, different behaviors emerge when fine-categorizing agents dominate.

Available from SocArXiv:

  • Yasar, Alperen. 2023. “Power Struggles and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace.” SocArXiv. doi:10.31235/osf.io/t4g83. Accessible online