IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Gender differences in competitiveness: Empirical evidence from professional distance running

  • Frick, Bernd
Registered author(s):

    A large body of literature documents the existence of a considerable and persistent gender gap in competitiveness. Using longitudinal data from professional distance running covering a period of nearly 40Â years (1973-2009) I first confirm the findings of most previous studies by demonstrating that on average the women's races were - for most years - indeed less competitive than the men's contests. Closer inspection of the data, however, reveals that the women's races over distances with large amounts of prize money and/or prestige at stake (5000Â m track, 10,000Â m road, half marathon, and marathon) have always been particularly "balanced". Moreover, although it still exists, the gender gap has considerably narrowed over the years. These findings are not compatible with the hypothesis that gender differences in competitiveness reflect evolved biological differences and/or psychological predispositions. It is, however, compatible with two other (complementary rather than substitute) hypotheses: due to changing socio-cultural conditions boys and girls are today socialized similarly in many parts of the world and due to the increasing returns to success (i.e. identical prize money levels and distributions) women are nowadays motivated to train as hard as comparably talented men.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VFD-51H7016-1/2/836ab6cb89846b7992eb77bc3a6bd9ad
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 389-398

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:18:y:2011:i:3:p:389-398
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Choosing to compete: How different are girls and boys?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 542-555.
    2. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Seki, Erika, 2005. "Competitive Work Environments and Social Preferences: Field Experimental Evidence from a Japanese Fishing Community," IZA Discussion Papers 1691, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Bellemare, Charles & Lepage, Patrick & Shearer, Bruce S., 2009. "Peer Pressure, Incentives, and Gender: An Experimental Analysis of Motivation in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 3948, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Douglas Coate & Donijo Robbins, 2001. "The Tournament Careers of Top-Ranked Men and Women Tennis Professionals: Are the Gentlemen More Committed than the Ladies?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(1), pages 185-193, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Victor Lavy, 2008. "Gender Differences in Market Competitiveness in a Real Workplace: Evidence from Performance-based Pay Tournaments among Teachers," NBER Working Papers 14338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael L. Bognanno, 1990. "The incentive effects of tournaments revisited: Evidence from the European PGA tour," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 74-88, February.
    9. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria L., 2010. "Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck," IZA Discussion Papers 5022, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. 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.
    11. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-24, December.
    12. Peter Hans Matthews & Paul Sommers & Francisco Peschiera, 2007. "Incentives and superstars on the LPGA Tour," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 87-94.
    13. Paserman, M. Daniele, 2007. "Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players," CEPR Discussion Papers 6335, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Cason, Timothy & Masters, William & Sheremeta, Roman, 2010. "Entry into Winner-Take-All and Proportional-Prize Contests: An Experimental Study," MPRA Paper 49886, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Gerdes, Christer & Gränsmark, Patrik, 2010. "Strategic Behavior across Gender: A Comparison of Female and Male Expert Chess Players," IZA Discussion Papers 4793, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Marie-Claire Villeval & Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior - Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 0512, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
    17. Rodney J. Garratt & Catherine Weinberger & Nick Johnson, 2013. "The State Street Mile: Age And Gender Differences In Competition Aversion In The Field," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 806-815, 01.
    18. Christiane Schwieren & Doris Weichselbaumer, 2008. "Does competition enhance performance or cheating? A laboratory experiment," Economics working papers 2008-01, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    19. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2008. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence from a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," NBER Working Papers 13727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. 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.
    21. Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Heterogeneity and performance in tournaments: a test for incentive effects using professional tennis data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(25), pages 3199-3208.
    22. Vandegrift, Donald & Yavas, Abdullah, 2009. "Men, women, and competition: An experimental test of behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 554-570, October.
    23. François Rycx & Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman, 2008. "Women and competition in elimination tournaments: evidence from professional tennis data," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5607, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    24. Wozniak, David, 2009. "Choices About Competition: Differences by gender and hormonal fluctuations, and the role of relative performance feedback," MPRA Paper 21097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    25. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2006. "Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments," Post-Print halshs-00175041, HAL.
    26. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
    27. Muriel Niederle & Alexandra H. Yestrumskas, 2008. "Gender Differences in Seeking Challenges: The Role of Institutions," NBER Working Papers 13922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Urvi Neelakantan, 2010. "Estimation And Impact Of Gender Differences In Risk Tolerance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 228-233, 01.
    29. Örs, Evren & Palomino, Frédéric & Peyrache, Eloïc, 2008. "Performance Gender-Gap: Does Competition Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6891, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    30. Dupuy, Arnaud, 2010. "An Economic Model of the Evolution of the Gender Performance Ratio in Individual Sports," IZA Discussion Papers 4838, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    31. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
    32. Alan Manning & Farzad Saidi, 2008. "Understanding the Gender Pay Gap: What's Competition Got to Do with It?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0898, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    33. Nekby, Lena & Thoursie, Peter Skogman & Vahtrik, Lars, 2007. "Gender and Self-Selection Into a Competitive Environment: Are Women More Overconfident Than Men?," IZA Discussion Papers 2794, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    34. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Joep Sonnemans & Bas van der Klaauw, 2011. "Incentives versus Sorting in Tournaments: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 637 - 658.
    35. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
    36. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Joeri Sol & Willem Verbeke, 2013. "Tournament Incentives in the Field: Gender Differences in the Workplace," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 305 - 326.
    37. Joseph Price, 2008. "Gender Differences in the Response to Competition," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(3), pages 320-333, April.
    38. Matthias Sutter & Daniela R?tzler, 2010. "Gender differences in competition emerge early in life," Working Papers 2010-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    39. Diana Fletschner & C. Leigh Anderson & Alison Cullen, 2010. "Are Women as Likely to Take Risks and Compete? Behavioural Findings from Central Vietnam," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(8), pages 1459-1479.
    40. Walters, Amy E. & Stuhlmacher, Alice F. & Meyer, Lia L., 1998. "Gender and Negotiator Competitiveness: A Meta-analysis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 1-29, October.
    41. Paarsch, Harry J. & Shearer, Bruce S., 2007. "Do women react differently to incentives? Evidence from experimental data and payroll records," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1682-1707, October.
    42. Vandegrift, Donald & Brown, Paul, 2005. "Gender differences in the use of high-variance strategies in tournament competition," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 834-849, December.
    43. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
    44. Grund, Christian & Sliwka, Dirk, 2010. "Evidence on performance pay and risk aversion," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 8-11, January.
    45. Stepan Jurajda & Daniel Munich, 2008. "Gender Gap in Admission Performance under Competitive Pressure," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp371, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
    46. Sunde, Uwe, 2009. "Heterogeneity and performance in tournaments: A test for incentive effects using professional tennis data," Munich Reprints in Economics 19585, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:18:y:2011:i:3:p:389-398. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.