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Gender Differences in the Response to Competition

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  • Joseph Price

Abstract

To investigate whether men and women respond differently to competition and whether this response depends on the gender mix of the group, the author examines outcomes of the Mellon Foundation's Graduate Education Initiative, a competitive fellowship program instituted in 1991 that was aimed at increasing graduation rates and decreasing time to degree. Men's performance, as measured by time to candidacy, increased 10% in response to the program, with the largest gains for men in departments with the highest proportions of female students. Women did not increase performance, on average, but the response of women did differ greatly depending on the gender mix of their peers, with a more positive response when a larger fraction of the group was female. These results suggest that when devising incentive schemes, policy-makers may need to be mindful of an inherent tradeoff between increasing aggregate outcomes through the use of competition and achieving gender equity.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 61 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 320-333

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:61:y:2008:i:3:p:320-333

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Cited by:
  1. Claire Schaffnit Chatterjee, 2010. "Towards Gender-Balanced Leadership: What has not Worked and What May?," Working Papers id:3241, eSocialSciences.
  2. Christiane Schwieren & Doris Weichselbaumer, 2008. "Does competition enhance performance or cheating? A laboratory experiment," NRN working papers 2008-05, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2009. "Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally," SIFR Research Report Series 69, Institute for Financial Research.
  4. Migheli, Matteo, 2010. "Gender at Work: Productivity and Incentives," AICCON Working Papers 74-2010, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
  5. Dato, Simon & Nieken, Petra, 2014. "Gender differences in competition and sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 64-80.
  6. Hassink, Wolter & Russo, Giovanni, 2010. "The Glass Door: The Gender Composition of Newly-Hired Workers Across Hierarchical Job Levels," IZA Discussion Papers 4858, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Louis-Philippe Morin, 2013. "Do Men and Women Respond Differently to Competition? Evidence from a Major Education Reform," Working Papers E1305E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  8. Christopher Cotton & Frank McIntyre & Joseph Price, 2010. "The Gender Gap Cracks Under Pressure: A Detailed Look at Male and Female Performance Differences During Competitions," NBER Working Papers 16436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cotton, Christopher & McIntyre, Frank & Price, Joseph, 2013. "Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 52-66.
  10. Grund, Christian & Martin, Johannes, 2012. "Monetary Reference Points of Managers: An Empirical Investigation of Status Quo Preferences and Social Comparisons," IZA Discussion Papers 7097, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Stepan Jurajda & Daniel Munich, 2008. "Gender Gap in Admission Performance under Competitive Pressure," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp371, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  12. Frick, Bernd, 2011. "Gender differences in competitiveness: Empirical evidence from professional distance running," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 389-398, June.
  13. Jurajda, Stepan & Münich, Daniel, 2008. "Gender Gap in Performance under Competitive Pressure," CEPR Discussion Papers 7059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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