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Do Competitive Work Places Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job-Entry Decisions

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  • Jeffrey A. Flory
  • Andreas Leibbrandt
  • John A. List

Abstract

Recently an important line of research using laboratory experiments has provided a new potential reason for why we observe gender imbalances in labor markets: men are more competitively inclined than women. Whether, and to what extent, such preferences yield differences in naturally-occurring labor market outcomes remains an open issue. We address this question by exploring job-entry decisions in a natural field experiment where we randomized nearly 7,000 interested job-seekers into different compensation regimes. By varying the role that individual competition plays in setting the wage, we are able to explore whether competition, by itself, can cause differential job entry. The data highlight the power of the compensation regime in that women disproportionately shy away from competitive work settings. Yet, there are important factors that attenuate the gender differences, including whether the job is performed in teams, whether the job task is female-oriented, and the local labor market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16546.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Publication status: published as Flory, Jeffrey A., Andreas Leibbrandt and John A. List, “Do Competitive Work Places Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job- Entry Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, (2014), forthcoming.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16546

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References

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  1. Loukas Balafoutas & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Gender, competition and the efficiency of policy interventions," Working Papers 2010-12, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
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  8. John List & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Field experiments in labor economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00092, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
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  13. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1993. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. John List, 2013. "Using field experiments to change the template of how we teach economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00389, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2011. "In Bloom: Gender Differences in Preferences among Adolescents," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 734, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 27 Jun 2012.
  3. C. Bram Cadsby & Maros Servatka & Fei Song, 2011. "How Competitive are Female Professionals? A Tale of Identity Conflict," Working Papers 1108, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  4. Samak, Anya C., 2013. "Is there a gender gap in preschoolers’ competitiveness? An experiment in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 22-31.
  5. Anna Dreber & Emma Essen & Eva Ranehill, 2014. "Gender and competition in adolescence: task matters," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 154-172, March.
  6. Benndorf, Volker & Rau, Holger A., 2012. "Competition in the workplace: An experimental investigation," DICE Discussion Papers 53, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  7. Gielen, Anne C. & Holmes, Jessica & Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2013. "Testosterone and the Gender Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 7575, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2012. "Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jordi Brandts & Valeska Groener & Christina Rott, 2012. "The impact of advice on women's and men's selection into competition," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 912.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  10. 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).
  11. Reuben, Ernesto & Wiswall, Matthew & Zafar, Basit, 2013. "Preferences and Biases in Educational Choices and Labor Market Expectations: Shrinking the Black Box of Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 7579, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Ghazala Azmat & Barbara Petrongolo, 2014. "Gender and the Labor Market: What Have We Learned from Field and Lab Experiments?," CEP Occasional Papers 40, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Jeffery Flory & Uri Gneezy & Kenneth Leonard & John List, 2012. "Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00072, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. Jordi Brandts & Valeska Groenert & Christina Rott, 2012. "The Impact of Advice on Women's and Men's Selection into Competition," Working Papers 663, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  15. Thomas Buser & Muriel Niederle & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2012. "Gender, Competitiveness and Career Choices," NBER Working Papers 18576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "It Pays to Be Happy (If You are a Man): Subjective Wellbeing and the Gender Wage Gap in Urban China," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 51-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  17. Louis-Philippe Morin, 2013. "Do Men and Women Respond Differently to Competition? Evidence from a Major Education Reform," Working Papers E1305E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  18. Almås, Ingvild & Cappelen, Alexander W. & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2014. "Willingness to Compete: Family Matters," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 3/2014, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.

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