In this study, we investigated if and how gender differences in the propensity to initiate a negotiation are affected by the gender of the counterpart in the negotiation. We enlisted 204 Swedish students to take part in an experiment in which they had to decide whether to initiate a negotiation for higher compensation. In line with previous research, we found that men were more likely than women to initiate a negotiation: 42 percent of the male and 28 percent of the female participants initiated a negotiation.
The gender difference, however, was only large and statistically significant when the negotiation counterpart was a woman. With a female negotiation counterpart, women were less likely than men to initiate a negotiation by 24 percentage points, while with a male negotiation counterpart, the gender difference was only 5 percentage points and not statistically significant. This result suggests that the gender of the negotiation counterpart should be taken into consideration when analyzing gender differences in initiation of negotiation.