IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Pricing competition: a new laboratory measure of gender differences in the willingness to compete


  • John Ifcher

    () (Santa Clara University)

  • Homa Zarghamee

    () (Columbia University)


Abstract Experiments have demonstrated that men are more willing to compete than women. We develop a new instrument to “price” willingness to compete. We find that men value a $2.00 winner-take-all payment significantly more (about $0.28 more) than women; and that women require a premium (about 40 %) to compete. Our new instrument is more sensitive than the traditional binary-choice instrument, and thus, enables us to identify relationships that are not identifiable using the traditional binary-choice instrument. We find that subjects who are the most willing to compete have high ability, higher GPA’s (men), and take more STEM courses (women).

Suggested Citation

  • John Ifcher & Homa Zarghamee, 2016. "Pricing competition: a new laboratory measure of gender differences in the willingness to compete," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 642-662, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:19:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10683-015-9458-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-015-9458-8

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Niels D. Grosse & Gerhard Riener, 2010. "Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
    4. Marie-Pierre Dargnies, 2009. "Does team competition eliminate the gender gap in entry in competitive environments ?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00367702, HAL.
    5. Cason, Timothy N. & Masters, William A. & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2010. "Entry into winner-take-all and proportional-prize contests: An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 604-611, October.
    6. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    7. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    8. David Wozniak & William T. Harbaugh & Ulrich Mayr, 2014. "The Menstrual Cycle and Performance Feedback Alter Gender Differences in Competitive Choices," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 161-198.
    9. Marie-Pierre Dargnies, 2009. "Does team competition eliminate the gender gap in entry in competitive environments?," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 09006, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    10. David Wozniak & William T. Harbaugh & Ulrich Mayr, 2010. "The Menstrual Cycle and Performance Feedback Alter Gender Differences in Competitive Choices," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2010-2, University of Oregon Economics Department.
    11. Kamas, Linda & Preston, Anne, 2012. "The importance of being confident; gender, career choice, and willingness to compete," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 82-97.
    12. Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2013. "How Costly Is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, May.
    13. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    14. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2011. "Gender and Competition," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 601-630, September.
    15. Thomas Buser & Muriel Niederle & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2014. "Gender, Competitiveness, and Career Choices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1409-1447.
    16. Judith A. McDonald & Robert J. Thornton, 2007. "Do New Male and Female College Graduates Receive Unequal Pay?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
    17. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 3-21, October.
    18. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender Matching And Competitiveness: Experimental Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 816-835, January.
    19. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    20. Andrew Healy & Jennifer Pate, 2011. "Can Teams Help to Close the Gender Competition Gap?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 1192-1204, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Willingness-to-compete; Competitiveness; Gender differences; Relative payoff; Piece-rate equivalents;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • 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


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:19:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10683-015-9458-8. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.