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Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cotton, Christopher & McIntyre, Frank & Price, Joseph, 2013. "Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 52-66.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:86:y:2013:i:c:p:52-66
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.12.029
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dato, Simon & Nieken, Petra, 2014. "Gender differences in competition and sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 64-80.
    2. Maria De Paola & Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2015. "Gender Differences in Attitudes Towards Competition: Evidence from the Italian Scientific Qualification," CSEF Working Papers 391, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    3. S. Cotton, Christopher & Li, Cheng & McIntyre, Frank & P. Price, Joseph, 2015. "Which explanations for gender differences in competition are consistent with a simple theoretical model?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 56-67.
    4. Christopher Cotton & Brent R. Hickman & Joseph P. Price, 2014. "Affirmative Action and Human Capital Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 20397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Birk, Erica G. & Lee, Logan M. & Waddell, Glen R., 2016. "Do Men Matter to Female Competition Even When They Don't?," IZA Discussion Papers 10184, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Mohan, Nancy, 2014. "A review of the gender effect on pay, corporate performance and entry into top management," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 41-51.
    7. De Paola, Maria & Gioia, Francesca & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2015. "Are females scared of competing with males? Results from a field experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 117-128.
    8. Shulamit Kahn & Donna Ginther, 2017. "Women and STEM," NBER Working Papers 23525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:201-222 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. John, June, 2017. "Gender differences and the effect of facing harder competition," MPRA Paper 81072, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Christopher Cotton & Brent R. Hickman & Joseph P. Price, 2016. "Affirmative Action and Human Capital Investment: Theory and Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," Working Papers 1350, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    12. Masclet, David & Peterle, Emmanuel & Larribeau, Sophie, 2015. "Gender differences in tournament and flat-wage schemes: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 103-115.
    13. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2016. "Gender in Jeopardy!: The Role of Opponent Gender in High-Stakes Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 9669, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Muriel Niederle, 2014. "Gender," NBER Working Papers 20788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Irene van Staveren, 2014. "The Lehman Sisters hypothesis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(5), pages 995-1014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competitiveness; Gender differences; Field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

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