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Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck

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Author Info

  • David Gill

    ()
    (University of Oxford)

  • Victoria Prowse

    ()
    (Cornell University)

Abstract

In a real effort experiment with repeated competition we find striking differences in how the work effort of men and women responds to previous wins and losses. For women losing per se is detrimental to productivity, but for men a loss impacts negatively on productivity only when the prize at stake is big enough. Responses to luck are more persistent and explain more of the variation in behavior for women, and account for about half of the gender performance gap in our experiment. Our findings shed new light on why women may be less inclined to pursue competition-intensive careers.

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File URL: http://cess-wb.nuff.ox.ac.uk/documents/DP2013/CESS_DP2013_001.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Nuffield College in its series Discussion Papers with number 2013001.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cex:dpaper:2013001

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Web page: http://cess-wb.nuff.ox.ac.uk/
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Related research

Keywords: Labor market outcomes; Gender gap; Experiment; Real effort; Career development; Competition; Luck; Productivity; Relative performance evaluation; Tournament; Wining; Losing;

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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. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  3. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
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