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Gender, Competitiveness and Career Choices

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  • Thomas Buser
  • Muriel Niederle
  • Hessel Oosterbeek

Abstract

Gender differences in competitiveness are often discussed as a potential explanation for gender differences in education and labor market outcomes. We correlate an incentivized measure of competitiveness with an important career choice of secondary school students in the Netherlands. At the age of 15, these students have to pick one out of four study profiles, which vary in how prestigious they are. While boys and girls have very similar levels of academic ability, boys are substantially more likely than girls to choose more prestigious profiles. We find that competitiveness is as important a predictor of profile choice as gender. More importantly, up to 23 percent of the gender difference in profile choice can be attributed to gender differences in competitiveness. This lends support to the extrapolation of laboratory findings on competitiveness to labor market settings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18576.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18576

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Cited by:
  1. Stefan Bauernschuster & Anita Fichtl, 2013. "Brauchen wir eine gesetzliche Frauenquote?," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(02), pages 39-48, 01.
  2. 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).
  3. Böheim, René & Lackner, Mario, 2013. "Gender and Competition: Evidence from Jumping Competitions," IZA Discussion Papers 7243, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Ernesto Reuben & Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2013. "Preferences and biases in educational choices and labor market expectations: shrinking the black box of gender," Staff Reports 627, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. 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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