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Mars dickers, Venus doesn't

November 23, 2010
Mars doesn't mind negotiating and is confident he deserves more. Venus is satisfied with what she is offered, unsure of what she deserves and fearful of bargaining. This is the message of "Women Don't Ask," a book to be published by Princeton University Press. Women's reluctance to negotiate arises even when it comes to commonly negotiated items like automobiles, wrote the authors, Linda Babcock, an economist at Carnegie Mellon University and a leading scholar of negotiations, and freelance writer Sara Laschever. According to a survey by the Dohring Co., for example, women are 40 percent more likely than men to accept the first car price a dealer offers. In another survey, 20 percent of women said they never negotiated. The authors advise women to seek out information about products and prices on the Internet before they go to the store, for an informed worker or customer is the best bargainer. The book, while sometimes prone to sweeping gender generalizations, carries a central theme: women are far less likely than men to initiate a negotiation.