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Are Females Scared of Competing with Males? Results from a Field Experiment

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Author Info

  • De Paola, Maria

    ()
    (University of Calabria)

  • Gioia, Francesca

    ()
    (University of Calabria)

  • Scoppa, Vincenzo

    ()
    (University of Calabria)

Abstract

We conducted a field experiment involving 720 Italian undergraduate students to investigate the existence of gender differences in performance in competitive settings and whether performance is affected by one's opponent gender. The experimental design was aimed at disentangling gender differences in taste for competition from other differences in psychological attitudes, such as self-confidence and risk aversion. Students were invited to undertake a midterm exam under a tournament scheme having as a prize some bonus points to add to the final grade. Students competed in pairs of equal predicted ability but different gender composition. We find that females are as likely as males to take part in the competition and to obtain a good performance. The gender of one's competitor does not play any role in shaping students' behavior. Men and women perform similarly both in the competitive and in the non-competitive environment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7799.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7799

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Related research

Keywords: gender differences; attitude toward competition; psychological differences; tournaments; field experiment; student achievements;

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References

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  1. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert & Sol, Joeri & Verbeke, Willem, 2009. "Tournament Incentives in the Field: Gender Differences in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 4395, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Olga Shurchkov, 2012. "Under Pressure: Gender Differences In Output Quality And Quantity Under Competition And Time Constraints," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1189-1213, October.
  3. 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.
  4. Andrew Healy & Jennifer Pate, 2011. "Can Teams Help to Close the Gender Competition Gap?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 1192-1204, 09.
  5. Matthias Sutter & Daniela R?tzler, 2010. "Gender differences in competition emerge early in life," Working Papers 2010-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  6. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
  7. Cotton, Christopher & McIntyre, Frank & Price, Joseph, 2013. "Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 52-66.
  8. 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.
  9. Paserman, Daniele, 2007. "Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players," IZA Discussion Papers 2834, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Cason, Timothy & Masters, William & Sheremeta, Roman, 2010. "Entry into Winner-Take-All and Proportional-Prize Contests: An Experimental Study," MPRA Paper 49886, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  14. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender Matching And Competitiveness: Experimental Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 816-835, 01.
  15. Evren Ors & Fr�d�ric Palomino & Elo�c Peyrache, 2013. "Performance Gender Gap: Does Competition Matter?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 443 - 499.
  16. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2011. "Frequency of examinations and student achievement in a randomized experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1416-1429.
  17. Kate Antonovics & Peter Arcidiacono & Randall Walsh, 2009. "The Effects of Gender Interactions in the Lab and in the Field," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 152-162, February.
  18. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Azmat, Ghazala & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2014. "Gender and the Labor Market: What Have We Learned from Field and Lab Experiments?," IZA Discussion Papers 8135, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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