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Best-of-five contest: An experiment on gender differences

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  • Mago, Shakun D.
  • Razzolini, Laura

Abstract

Prior gender literature has focused on whether men and women differ in their willingness to enter competition. We conduct a laboratory study to examine, instead, gender differences while in competition. We analyze effort choices in a best-of-five probabilistic contest. The longer contest and the careful manipulation of the gender composition allow us to identify gender differences in competitiveness in an environment where success requires repeated interaction. We find that women exert significantly greater effort only when competing against other women, but for men the gender of the opponent is of no consequence. Our multi-battle structure also enables us to identify the psychological impact of immediate prior outcomes and the strategic impact of early round wins or losses, as well as their differential impact on genders. Across both genders, we find evidence supporting strategic momentum, but not psychological momentum. Finally, subjects who exhibit lower level of confidence and those who have higher utility of winning choose higher effort levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Mago, Shakun D. & Razzolini, Laura, 2019. "Best-of-five contest: An experiment on gender differences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 164-187.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:162:y:2019:i:c:p:164-187
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.04.015
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    Keywords

    Lottery contest; Laboratory experiment; Gender differences; Confidence;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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