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The State Street Mile: Age and Gender Differences in Competition-Aversion in the Field

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Author Info

  • Garratt, Rod
  • Weinberger, Catherine J
  • Johnson, Nicholas

Abstract

Gender differences in "competitiveness," previously documented in laboratory experiments, are hypothesized to play a role in a wide array of economic outcomes. The current paper provides evidence of competition-aversion in a natural setting somewhere between the simplicity of a laboratory experiment and the full complexity and ambiguity of a labor market. The "State Street Mile" race offers both male and female participants a choice between two different levels of competition. Large, systematic age and gender differences are observed in the relationship between true ability and the decision to enter the more competitive race. Overall, qualified women and older runners are far less likely than qualified young men to enter a competitive race with cash prizes. However, the fastest young women unanimously enter the competitive race. Therefore, while we confirm age and gender differences in competitiveness in our field setting, the economic consequences to capable young women are rather small.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt68b2q5p4.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt68b2q5p4

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Keywords: competition-aversion; age; gender;

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References

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  1. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series, Monash University, Department of Economics archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  2. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, 09.
  3. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Becchetti, Leonardo & Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Ottone, Stefania & Solferino, Nazaria, 2013. "Allocation criteria under task performance: The gendered preference for protection," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 96-111.
  2. Madiès, Thierry & Villeval, Marie Claire & Wasmer, Malgorzata, 2013. "Intergenerational attitudes towards strategic uncertainty and competition: A field experiment in a Swiss bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 153-168.
  3. Frick, Bernd, 2011. "Gender differences in competitiveness: Empirical evidence from professional distance running," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 389-398, June.
  4. Dato, Simon & Nieken, Petra, 2013. "Gender Differences in Competition and Sabotage," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association 79750, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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