IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v72y2009i1p554-570.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Men, women, and competition: An experimental test of behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Vandegrift, Donald
  • Yavas, Abdullah

Abstract

This study reports a series of experiments that examine outcomes when agents are able to choose between a payment scheme that rewards based on absolute performance (i.e., piece rate) and a scheme that rewards based on relative performance (i.e., a tournament). We test for the presence and persistence of gender differences in performance and the rate of entry into the tournament option and whether these differences are sensitive to the structure of the tournament rewards. In the winner-take-all (WTA) condition, only the best performer in the tournament for each round received a payment ($4.50). In the graduated tournament condition, the same payment ($4.50) was divided among the first, second, and third finishers in the tournament. In the WTA condition, men showed significantly lower forecast errors than women. In addition, a clear sorting effect occurs in the WTA condition. In early rounds of the WTA condition, male entrants into the tournament show significantly lower forecast errors than female tournament entrants. However, the difference disappears over time. After controlling for forecasting skill, gender did not predict entry into the tournament for the WTA condition. However, lower forecasting skill reduced the probability of entry. In the graduated tournament, the situation was reversed. Men entered the tournament at significantly higher rates, even after controlling for skill. Forecasting skill had no impact on the decision to enter the tournament. While the average male entrant to the tournament had lower forecast errors than the average female entrant, the men entered at much higher rates. As a consequence, men were much more likely than women to enter the tournament too frequently.

Suggested Citation

  • Vandegrift, Donald & Yavas, Abdullah, 2009. "Men, women, and competition: An experimental test of behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 554-570, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:554-570
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167-2681(09)00179-6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, September.
    3. Terrance Odean., 1996. "Volume, Volatility, Price and Profit When All Trader Are Above Average," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-266, University of California at Berkeley.
    4. van Dijk, Frans & Sonnemans, Joep & van Winden, Frans, 2001. "Incentive systems in a real effort experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 187-214, February.
    5. Bognanno, Michael L, 2001. "Corporate Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 290-315, April.
    6. Terza, Joseph V. & Basu, Anirban & Rathouz, Paul J., 2008. "Two-stage residual inclusion estimation: Addressing endogeneity in health econometric modeling," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 531-543, May.
    7. Vandegrift, Donald & Brown, Paul, 2003. "Task difficulty, incentive effects, and the selection of high-variance strategies: an experimental examination of tournament behavior," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 481-497, August.
    8. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    9. Green, Jerry R & Stokey, Nancy L, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 349-364, June.
    10. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-280, April.
    11. Balzer, William K. & Sulsky, Lorne M. & Hammer, Leslie B. & Sumner, Kenneth E., 1992. "Task information, cognitive information, or functional validity information: Which components of cognitive feedback affect performance?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 35-54, October.
    12. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292.
    13. Knoeber, Charles R & Thurman, Walter N, 1994. "Testing the Theory of Tournaments: An Empirical Analysis of Broiler Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 155-179, April.
    14. Brown, Paul M., 1998. "Experimental evidence on the importance of competing for profits on forecasting accuracy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 259-269, January.
    15. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-1324, December.
    16. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    17. Xu, Peng, 1997. "Executive Salaries as Tournament Prizes and Executive Bonuses as Managerial Incentives in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 319-346, September.
    18. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    19. Brown, Paul M., 1995. "Learning from experience, reference points, and decision costs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 381-399, August.
    20. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 3-21, October.
    21. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2003. "An experimental study on tournament design," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 443-464, August.
    22. Christopher Ferrall, 1996. "Promotions and Incentives in Partnerships: Evidence from Major U.S. Law Firms," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 811-827, November.
    23. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
    24. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1987. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 1-33, February.
    25. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael L. Bognanno, 1990. "The Incentive Effects of Tournaments Revisited: Evidence from the European PGA Tour," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 74, April.
    26. Brown, Keith C & Harlow, W V & Starks, Laura T, 1996. "Of Tournaments and Temptations: An Analysis of Managerial Incentives in the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 85-110, March.
    27. Goldstein,William M. & Hogarth,Robin M. (ed.), 1997. "Research on Judgment and Decision Making," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521483346, November.
    28. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Volume, Volatility, Price, and Profit When All Traders Are Above Average," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1887-1934, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Donald Vandegrift & Abdullah Yavas & Paul Brown, 2007. "Incentive effects and overcrowding in tournaments: An experimental analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(4), pages 345-368, December.
    2. Vandegrift, Donald & Brown, Paul, 2005. "Gender differences in the use of high-variance strategies in tournament competition," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 834-849, December.
    3. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie‐Claire Villeval, 2009. "Self‐Selection And The Efficiency Of Tournaments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(3), pages 530-548, July.
    4. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 229-330, Elsevier.
    5. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Joep Sonnemans & Bas van der Klaauw, 2011. "Incentives versus Sorting in Tournaments: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 637-658.
    6. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Effort Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments," Post-Print halshs-00142876, HAL.
    7. Vandegrift, Donald & Brown, Paul, 2003. "Task difficulty, incentive effects, and the selection of high-variance strategies: an experimental examination of tournament behavior," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 481-497, August.
    8. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Arjan Non & Willem Verbeke, 2015. "The Effects of Prize Spread and Noise in Elimination Tournaments: A Natural Field Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(3), pages 521-569.
    9. Agranov, Marina & Tergiman, Chloe, 2013. "Incentives and compensation schemes: An experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 238-247.
    10. Carlos Cueva Herrero & Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe Kortajarene & Giovanni Ponti & Josefa Tomás Lucas, 2016. "The disposition effect: who and when?," Working Papers. Serie AD 2016-01, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    11. Czibor, Eszter & Onderstal, Sander & Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, C. Mirjam, 2020. "Does relative grading help male students? Evidence from a field experiment in the classroom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    12. Steffen Altmann & Armin Falk & Matthias Wibral, 2012. "Promotions and Incentives: The Case of Multistage Elimination Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 149-174.
    13. Donald Vandegrift & Abdullah Yavas, 2010. "An Experimental Test of Sabotage in Tournaments," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 259-285, June.
    14. Sun, Sophia Li & Habib, Ahsan, 2020. "Determinants and consequences of tournament incentives: A survey of the literature in accounting and finance," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    15. Carlos Cueva Herrero & Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe Kortajarene & Giovanni Ponti & Josefa Tomás Lucas, 2017. "Boys will (still) be boys: Gender differences in trading activity are not due to differences in confidence," Working Papers. Serie AD 2017-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    16. Bernd Frick, 2003. "Contest Theory and Sport," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press and Oxford Review of Economic Policy Limited, vol. 19(4), pages 512-529, Winter.
    17. Palomino, Frédéric & Peyrache, Eloïc & ÖRS, Evren, 2008. "Performance Gender-Gap: Does Competition Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6891, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Yang, Fanzheng, 2013. "Using laboratory experiments to study otherwise unobservable labor market interactions," ISU General Staff Papers 201301010800004100, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    19. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2015. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 609-669, December.
    20. Anat Bracha & Chaim Fershtman, 2013. "Competitive Incentives: Working Harder or Working Smarter?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(4), pages 771-781, April.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:554-570. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.