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Do Women shy away from Competition?

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  • Lise Vesterlund
  • Muriel Niederle

Abstract

Despite sustained efforts of equal opportunities for men and women, large gender differences prevail in competitive high ranking positions. Possible explanations include discrimination, differences in human capital and preferences, which overall may make women less effective in competitive environments. In this paper we explore whether men and women have different preferences concerning self selection into competitive environments. In a laboratory experiment, we observe that women select less into a competitive environment than men, even for a task in which men and women perform equally under a competitive scheme and a piece rate. This effect is stronger when women have to compete against men than in single-sex environments: this suggests that highly qualified women do select into highly competitive environments, just less so when they have to compete against men.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 652.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:652

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Keywords: Experiments; discrimination;

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Cited by:
  1. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2006. "Effort Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments," Post-Print halshs-00142876, HAL.
  2. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2006. "Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments," Post-Print halshs-00175041, HAL.
  3. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior - Experimental Evidence," Post-Print halshs-00180022, HAL.
  4. Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel & Dorothea Kübler, 2005. "Courtesy and Idleness: Gender Differences in Team Work and Team Competition," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-049, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  5. Alan Manning & Farzad Saidi, 2008. "Understanding the Gender Pay Gap: What's Competition Got to Do with It?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0898, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Daniela Beckmann & Lukas Menkhoff, 2008. "Will Women Be Women? Analyzing the Gender Difference among Financial Experts," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 364-384, 08.
  7. Ham, John C. & Kagel, John H., 2006. "Gender effects in private value auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 375-382, September.
  8. Hübler, Olaf & Menkhoff, Lukas, 2010. "Do Women Manage Smaller Funds?," IZA Discussion Papers 4771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Andrea Weber & Christine Zulehner, 2009. "Competition and Gender Prejudice: Are Discriminatory Employers Doomed to Fail?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2842, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental," Post-Print halshs-00175039, HAL.

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