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Can Personality Explain what is Underlying Women's Unwillingness to Compete?

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  • Müller, Julia
  • Schwieren, Christiane

Abstract

There is ample evidence that women do not react to competition as men do and are less willing to enter a competition than men (e.g., Gneezy et al.(2003), Niederle and Vesterlund (2007)). In this paper, we use personality variables to understand the underlying motives of women (and men) to enter a competition or avoid it. We use the Big Five personality factors (Goldberg (1981), McCrae and Costa JR (2003)), where especially neuroticism has been related to performance in achievement settings. We first test whether scores on the Big Five are related to performance in our experiment, and second how this is related to incentives. We can show that the sex di fference in the willingness to enter a competition is mediated by neuroticism and further that neuroticism is negatively related to performance in competiton. This raises the possibility that those women who do not choose competitive incentives "know" that they should not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0511.

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Date of creation: 11 Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0511

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Keywords: Gender; Personality; Big Five; Five-factor Model; Competition; Experiment;

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References

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  1. Timothy N. Cason & William A. Masters & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2010. "Entry into Winner-Take-All and Proportional-Prize Contests: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 10-10, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  2. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Sex and Risk: Experimental Evidence," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  4. Alison L. Booth & Patrick Nolen, 2009. "Choosing To Compete: How Different Are Girls and Boys?," Economics Discussion Papers 673, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  5. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2008. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence from a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," NBER Working Papers 13727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2010. "Gender differences in competitiveness and risk taking: comparing children in Colombia and Sweden," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 730, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 03 Jun 2011.
  7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  8. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2009. "Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 709, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 16 Oct 2009.
  9. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
  10. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences, and Gender," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 556-90, April.
  11. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Wozniak, David, 2009. "Choices About Competition: Differences by gender and hormonal fluctuations, and the role of relative performance feedback," MPRA Paper 21097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Fietze, Simon & Holst, Elke & Tobsch, Verena, 2010. "Germany's Next Top Manager: Does Personality Explain the Gender Career Gap?," IZA Discussion Papers 5110, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  15. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender matching and competitiveness: experimental evidence," Post-Print halshs-00661770, HAL.
  16. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  17. Heckman, James J., 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5950, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Günther, Christina & Ekinci, Neslihan Arslan & Schwieren, Christiane & Strobel, Martin, 2010. "Women can't jump?--An experiment on competitive attitudes and stereotype threat," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 395-401, September.
  19. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2010. "Explaining the Gender Gap in Math Test Scores: The Role of Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 129-44, Spring.
  20. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  21. Niels D. Grosse & Gerhard Riener, 2010. "Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Becchetti & Giacomo Degli Antoni & Stefania Ottone & Nazaria Solferino, 2011. "Allocation Criteria under Task Performance: the Gendered Preference for Protection," CEIS Research Paper 214, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 24 Oct 2011.
  2. Filippin, A. & Crosetto, P., 2014. "A reconsideration of gender differences in risk attitudes," Working Papers 2014-01, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
  3. Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin & Janna Heider, 2013. "A Study of Outcome Reporting Bias Using Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," CESifo Working Paper Series 4466, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Reuben, Ernesto & Wiswall, Matthew & Zafar, Basit, 2013. "Preferences and Biases in Educational Choices and Labor Market Expectations: Shrinking the Black Box of Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 7579, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Seda Ertac & Mehmet Y. Gurdal, 2012. "Personality, Group Decision-Making and Leadership," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1227, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  6. Sproten, Alec N. & Schwieren, Christiane, 2012. "Age differences in the reaction to incentives – do older people avoid competition?," Working Papers 0522, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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