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Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences

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  • Jeffery Flory
  • Uri Gneezy
  • Kenneth Leonard
  • John List

Abstract

Gender differences in competitive behavior have received much attention, demonstrating a systematic gap between males’ and females’ tendencies to compete. Theories predict a biological factor linked to an evolutionary response to the different paths to reproductive success for men and women. Since strategies for reproductive success change over the female life-cycle, the gender gap is predicted to be largest for young adults but after menopause women should be as competitive as men. Using data drawn from two very different societies, we find strong support for this theoretical prediction: competitiveness in women is tightly linked to their biological roles in childrearing.

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File URL: http://karlan.yale.edu/fieldexperiments/papers/00072.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Artefactual Field Experiments with number 00072.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00072

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Web page: http://www.fieldexperiments.com

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References

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  1. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, 09.
  2. John List & Charles Mason, 2009. "Are CEOs Expected Utility Maximizers?," NBER Working Papers 15453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. repec:feb:framed:0070 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Dekel, E. & Scotchmer, S., 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes Towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Papers 4-99, Tel Aviv.
  5. List, John A. & Price, Michael K., 2009. "The role of social connections in charitable fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 160-169, February.
  6. repec:feb:artefa:0089 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0008, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  8. List, John A. & Mason, Charles F., 2001. "Optimal Institutional Arrangements for Transboundary Pollutants in a Second-Best World: Evidence from a Differential Game with Asymmetric Players," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 277-296, November.
  9. repec:feb:natura:0055 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. John List, 2006. "Field experiments: A bridge between lab and naturally occurring data," Artefactual Field Experiments 00083, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. John List & Todd Cherry, 2000. "Learning to Accept in Ultimatum Games: Evidence from an Experimental Design that Generates Low Offers," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 11-29, June.
  12. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, 03.
  13. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Jeffrey A. Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2010. "Do Competitive Work Places Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job-Entry Decisions," NBER Working Papers 16546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  16. John List & Jason Shogren, 1998. "Calibration of the difference between actual and hypothetical valuations in a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00296, The Field Experiments Website.
  17. List, John A. & Margolis, Michael & Shogren, Jason F., 1998. "Hypothetical-actual bid calibration of a multigood auction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 263-268, September.
  18. John A. List, 2009. "Social Preferences: Some Thoughts from the Field," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 563-583, 05.
  19. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Choosing to compete: How different are girls and boys?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 542-555.
  20. Gary Charness & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 956-78, June.
  21. John List, 2006. "The behavioralist meets the market: Measuring social preferences and reputation effects in actual transactions," Natural Field Experiments 00300, The Field Experiments Website.
  22. Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000087, David K. Levine.
  23. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101, 08.
  24. repec:feb:framed:0068 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. repec:feb:framed:0081 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. List, John A. & Rondeau, Daniel, 2003. "The impact of challenge gifts on charitable giving: an experimental investigation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 153-159, May.
  27. John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
  28. Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and in the Laboratory," Post-Print halshs-00371984, HAL.
  29. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  30. List John A. & Millimet Daniel L & McHone Warren, 2004. "The Unintended Disincentive in the Clean Air Act," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, February.
  31. Uri Gneezy & John A List & George Wu, 2006. "The Uncertainty Effect: When a Risky Prospect Is Valued Less Than Its Worst Possible Outcome," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1283-1309, November.
  32. John List, 2005. "Scientific Numerology, Preference Anomalies, and Environmental Policymaking," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 35-53, 09.
  33. John A. List, 2006. "Using Hicksian Surplus Measures to Examine Consistency of Individual Preferences: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 115-134, 03.
  34. John A. List, 2002. "Preference Reversals of a Different Kind: The "More Is Less" Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1636-1643, December.
  35. repec:feb:artefa:0106 is not listed on IDEAS
  36. repec:feb:artefa:0102 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
  38. List, John A. & Co, Catherine Y., 2000. "The Effects of Environmental Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-20, July.
  39. John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2005. "Conspiraces and Secret Price Discounts in the Marketplace: Evidence from Field Experiments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 700-717, Autumn.
  40. Robson, Arthur J., 1996. "The Evolution of Attitudes to Risk: Lottery Tickets and Relative Wealth," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 190-207, June.
  41. John A. List, 2004. "Young, Selfish and Male: Field evidence of social preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 121-149, 01.
  42. David Wozniak & William T. Harbaugh & Ulrich Mayr, 2010. "The Menstrual Cycle and Performance Feedback Alter Gender Differences in Competitive Choices," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2010-2, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  43. 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.
  44. List, John A, 2003. "Using Random nth Price Auctions to Value Non-market Goods and Services," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 193-205, March.
  45. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  46. John List & Craig Gallet, 2001. "What Experimental Protocol Influence Disparities Between Actual and Hypothetical Stated Values?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(3), pages 241-254, November.
  47. John A. List & Daniel L. Millimet & Per G. Fredriksson & W. Warren McHone, 2003. "Effects of Environmental Regulations on Manufacturing Plant Births: Evidence from a Propensity Score Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 944-952, November.
  48. John List, 2002. "Testing neoclassical competitive market theory in the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00082, The Field Experiments Website.
  49. John List, 2008. "Informed consent in social science," Artefactual Field Experiments 00086, The Field Experiments Website.
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