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Distributional preferences and competitive behavior

  • Balafoutas, Loukas
  • Kerschbamer, Rudolf
  • Sutter, Matthias

We study experimentally the relationship between distributional preferences and competitive behavior. We find that spiteful subjects react strongest to competitive pressure and win in a tournament significantly more often than efficiency-minded and inequality averse subjects. However, when given the choice between a tournament and a piece rate scheme, efficiency-minded subjects choose the tournament most often, while spiteful and inequality averse subjects avoid it. When controlling for distributional preferences, risk attitudes and past performance, the gender gap in the willingness to compete is no longer significant, indicating that gender-related variables explain why twice as many men as women self-select into competition.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268111001636
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 83 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 125-135

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:83:y:2012:i:1:p:125-135
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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  10. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2009. "Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 709, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 16 Oct 2009.
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  15. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
  16. Caterina Calsamiglia & Jörg Franke & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2009. "The Incentive Effects of Affirmative Action in a Real-Effort Tournament," Working Papers 404, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  17. Matthias Sutter & Daniela R?tzler, 2010. "Gender differences in competition emerge early in life," Working Papers 2010-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  18. Wozniak, David, 2009. "Choices About Competition: Differences by gender and hormonal fluctuations, and the role of relative performance feedback," MPRA Paper 21097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. John List & Kenneth Leonard & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender differences in competition: Evidence from a matrilineal and a patriarchal society," Artefactual Field Experiments 00049, The Field Experiments Website.
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