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Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests

  • Cotton, Christopher
  • McIntyre, Frank
  • Price, Joseph

The literature shows that males react more favorably than females to competitive incentives. This well-known result, however, is based on experiments in which participants engage in only a one-shot contest. We conduct a series of math contests in elementary schools which are similar to past experiments except for one notable exception: subjects compete in five sequential contests, rather than a one-shot contest typically used. Although males outperform females in the first period contest, we find no evidence of a male advantage in subsequent periods. Females even outperform males in later periods. The data suggests that the relative overperformance of low-ability males and the underperformance of high-ability females are primarily responsible for the first period results. Additionally, even the first period male advantage disappears when we reduce the time pressure or change the task at hand.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 86 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 52-66

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:86:y:2013:i:c:p:52-66
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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