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Social environments with competitive pressure: Gender effects in the decisions of German schoolchildren

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  • Houser, Daniel
  • Schunk, Daniel

Abstract

Systematic differences in decision making between genders have been discovered in both competitive and pro-social environments. These contexts, however, have been previously studied in isolation while in naturally occurring settings pro-social and competitive pressures often overlap in economically meaningful ways. Here we report data from an experiment involving German schoolchildren where dictators are in one town and receivers in another. Our experiment informs decision making in social environments that include differing levels of competitive pressure. We find that competitive pressure significantly mitigates pro-sociality in boys, while it does not affect girls' propensities to make fair decisions. This finding is robust to controlling for social and cognitive factors, and it may shed additional light on the evolutionary roots of human social preferences.

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  • Houser, Daniel & Schunk, Daniel, 2009. "Social environments with competitive pressure: Gender effects in the decisions of German schoolchildren," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 634-641, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:30:y:2009:i:4:p:634-641
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    Cited by:

    1. Yann Girard & Florian Hett, 2013. "Competitiveness in dynamic group contests: Evidence from combined field and lab data," Working Papers 1303, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 01 Apr 2013.
    2. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
    3. Boschini, Anne & Muren, Astri & Persson, Mats, 2012. "Constructing gender differences in the economics lab," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 741-752.
    4. Thorsten Chmura & Christoph Engel & Markus Englerth & Thomas Pitz, 2010. "At the Mercy of the Prisoner Next Door. Using an Experimental Measure of Selfishness as a Criminological Tool," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_27, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    5. Muriel Niederle, 2014. "Gender," NBER Working Papers 20788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Walkowitz, Gari, 2017. "On the Validity of Cost-Saving Methods in Dictator-Game Experiments: A Systematic Test," MPRA Paper 83309, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Jose Apesteguia & Ghazala Azmat & Nagore Iriberri, 2012. "The Impact of Gender Composition on Team Performance and Decision Making: Evidence from the Field," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(1), pages 78-93, January.
    8. Dittrich, Dennis A.V. & Büchner, Susanne & Kulesz, Micaela M., 2015. "Dynamic repeated random dictatorship and gender discrimination," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 81-90.
    9. Angerer, Silvia & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Lergetporer, Philipp & Sutter, Matthias, 2015. "Donations, risk attitudes and time preferences: A study on altruism in primary school children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 67-74.
    10. Kirsten Häger & Bastiaan Oud & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "Egalitarian Envy: Cross-cultural Variation in the Development of Envy in Children," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-059, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    11. Bügelmayer, Elisabeth & Katharina Spiess, C., 2014. "Spite and cognitive skills in preschoolers," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 154-167.
    12. Houser, Daniel & List, John A. & Piovesan, Marco & Samek, Anya & Winter, Joachim, 2016. "Dishonesty: From parents to children," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 242-254.
    13. Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Schmidt, Carsten, 2011. "Time (In)Consistent Food Choice of Children and Teenagers," MEA discussion paper series 11251, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    14. Thorsten Chmura & Christoph Engel & Markus Englerth, 2013. "Selfishness As a Potential Cause of Crime. A Prison Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_05, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    15. Kirsten Häger, 2010. "Envy and Altruism in Children," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-063, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    16. repec:eee:soceco:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:139-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman & Cathleen Johnson & Angela Oliveira & Christian Rojas & Rick Wilson, 2012. "School environment and risk preferences: Experimental evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 265-292, December.
    18. Schulz, Jonathan F. & Thiemann, Petra & Thöni, Christian, 2018. "Nudging generosity: Choice architecture and cognitive factors in charitable giving," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 139-145.
    19. Kettner , Sara Elisa & Ceccato , Smarandita, 2014. "Framing Matters in Gender-Paired Dictator Games," Working Papers 0557, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    20. Tom Lane, 2015. "Discrimination in the laboratory: a meta-analysis," Discussion Papers 2015-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

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