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Do Women Have More Shame than Men? An Experiment on Self-Assessment and the Shame of Overestimating Oneself

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  • Ludwig, Sandra
  • Thoma, Carmen

Abstract

We analyze how subjects’ self-assessment depends on whether its accuracy is observable to others. We find that women downgrade their selfassessment given observability while men do not. Women avoid the shame they may have if others observe that they overestimated themselves. Men, however, do not seem to be similarly shame-averse. This gender difference may be due to different societal expectations: While we find that men are expected to be overconfident, women are not. Shame-aversion may explain recent findings that women shy away from competition, demanding jobs and wage negotiations, as entering these situations is a statement to be confident of one’s ability.

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File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/12905/1/Ludwig_Thoma_2012_Do_Women_Have_More_Shame_than_Men-An_Experiment_on_Self-Assessment_and_the_Shame_of_Overestimating_Oneself.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 12905.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:12905

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Keywords: Gender; Shame; Self-confidence; Overconfidence; Experiment;

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  1. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jurgen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative, experimentally-validated survey," Framed Field Experiments 00140, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Bowles, Hannah Riley & Babcock, Linda & McGinn, Kathleen L., 2005. "Constraints and Triggers: Situational Mechanics of Gender in Negotiation," Working Paper Series rwp05-051, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Lise Vesterlund, 2008. "How Costly is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," Working Papers 342, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2008.
  6. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin, 2010. "Performance Pay and Multi-dimensional Sorting - Productivity, Preferences and Gender," Research Memorandum 012, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  7. Eriksson, Tor & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2008. "Feedback and Incentives: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Differences in the Economic Decisions of Men and Women: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  10. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender matching and competitiveness: experimental evidence," Post-Print halshs-00661770, HAL.
  11. Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2013. "How Costly Is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, May.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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  15. Johansson Stenman, Olof & Nordblom, Katarina, 2010. "Are Men Really More Overconfident than Women? - A Natural Field Experiment on Exam Behavior," Working Papers in Economics 461, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Thoma, Carmen, 2013. "Is Underconfidence Favored over Overconfidence? An Experiment on the Perception of a Biased Self-Assessment," Discussion Papers in Economics 17460, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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