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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
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.06.018
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  11. Werner Guth & Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter, 2002. "Bargaining outside the lab - a newspaper experiment of a three person-ultimatum game," Artefactual Field Experiments 00050, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. 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.
  13. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  14. 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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  17. Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2008. "How Costly is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," NBER Working Papers 13923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
  23. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292.
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  25. Thomas Buser, 2009. "The Impact of Female Sex Hormones on Competitiveness," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-082/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  26. Sutter, Matthias & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2010. "Gender Differences in Competition Emerge Early in Life," IZA Discussion Papers 5015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  28. Günther, Christina & Ekinci, Neslihan Arslan & Schwieren, Christiane & Strobel, Martin, 2010. "Women can't jump?--An experiment on competitive attitudes and stereotype threat," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 395-401, September.
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