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Is there a gender gap in preschoolers’ competitiveness? An experiment in the U.S

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  • Samak, Anya C.

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the difference in competitiveness of 3–5 year-old boys and girls in the U.S. 123 children from a preschool are randomly matched into girl–girl, boy–boy, and boy–girl pairs of similar age and participate in a gender-neutral, competitive classroom activity using candy as an incentive. Children participate in a piece rate incentive scheme and a tournament incentive scheme in rounds 1 and 2, and select their preferred incentive scheme for round 3. We find that girls and boys choose to compete at equal rates – with 80% of children choosing to compete overall. We also find that girls’ output in the task is significantly lower than that of boys under the tournament scheme, but not different in round 3 for the girls and boys who self-select into the tournament. All children display a remarkable rate of confidence – 84% of children believe they won under the tournament scheme. The gender of the match does not play a significant role.

Suggested Citation

  • Samak, Anya C., 2013. "Is there a gender gap in preschoolers’ competitiveness? An experiment in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 22-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:92:y:2013:i:c:p:22-31
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.04.014
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    Cited by:

    1. Khachatryan, Karen & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2015. "Gender and preferences at a young age: Evidence from Armenia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 318-332.
    2. Hahn, Youjin & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Network Structure and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 8872, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Youjin Hahn & Asadul Islam & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2015. "Teams, Organization and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a field experiment in Bangladesh," Monash Economics Working Papers 35-15, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    4. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2017. "Gender Differences in Competitiveness and Risk-Taking among Children, Teenagers, and College Students: Evidence from Jeopardy!," IZA Discussion Papers 11201, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Alexander Cappelen & John List & Anya Samek & Bertil Tungodden, 2016. "The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences," Framed Field Experiments 00584, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Säve Söderberg, Jenny & Sjögren Lindquist, Gabriella, 2014. "Children do not behave like adults: Gender gaps in performance and risk taking," Working Paper Series 7/2013, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    7. 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.
    8. Thomas (T.) Buser & Noemi Peter & Stefan Wolter, 2017. "Gender, Willingness to Compete and Career Choices Along the Whole Ability Distribution," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-081/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Aurelie Dariel & Curtis Kephart & Nikos Nikiforakis & Christina Zenker, 2017. "Emirati women do not shy away from competition: evidence from a patriarchal society in transition," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(2), pages 121-136, December.
    10. repec:ces:ifodic:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:19337553 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Anya Samek, 2015. "Gender Differences in Job Entry Decisions: A University-Wide Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00419, The Field Experiments Website.
    12. Jenny Säve-Söderbergh & Gabriella Sjögren Lindquist, 2014. "Children Do Not Behave Like Adults: Gender Gaps in Performance and Risk Taking within a Random Social Context in the High-Stakes Game Shows Jeopardy and Junior Jeopardy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4595, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. René Böheim & Dominik Grübl & Mario Lackner, 2017. "Gender Differences in Competitiveness," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(2), pages 13-17, August.
    14. 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).
    15. repec:ces:ifodic:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:13-17 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Competition; Child preferences; Field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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