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Selection into self-improvement and competition pay: Gender, stereotypes, and earnings volatility

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  • Klinowski, David

Abstract

We examine whether men and women differ in their willingness to select into a contract that pays upon improving one's past performance. Experiment participants choose to perform a task under either a regular piece rate, or a larger piece rate provided they improve relative to a previous round. Women are less willing than men to select into self-improvement pay, and this gender gap is largely explained by higher risk aversion and (to a smaller extent) lower self-confidence. High earnings volatility widens the gender gap, and makes self-improvement pay less attractive than competition pay. We find no effect of gender stereotypes in the willingness to sort into self-improvement. The results provide insight into the feasibility and potential of using self-improvement contracts as gender-neutral incentive mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Klinowski, David, 2019. "Selection into self-improvement and competition pay: Gender, stereotypes, and earnings volatility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 128-146.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:158:y:2019:i:c:p:128-146
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.11.014
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Self-improvement; Competitiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact

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