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Can Personality Explain what is Underlying Women's Unwillingness to Compete?

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  • Müller, Julia
  • Schwieren, Christiane

Abstract

There is ample evidence that women do not react to competition as men do and are less willing to enter a competition than men (e.g., Gneezy et al.(2003), Niederle and Vesterlund (2007)). In this paper, we use personality variables to understand the underlying motives of women (and men) to enter a competition or avoid it. We use the Big Five personality factors (Goldberg (1981), McCrae and Costa JR (2003)), where especially neuroticism has been related to performance in achievement settings. We first test whether scores on the Big Five are related to performance in our experiment, and second how this is related to incentives. We can show that the sex di fference in the willingness to enter a competition is mediated by neuroticism and further that neuroticism is negatively related to performance in competiton. This raises the possibility that those women who do not choose competitive incentives "know" that they should not.

Suggested Citation

  • Müller, Julia & Schwieren, Christiane, 2011. "Can Personality Explain what is Underlying Women's Unwillingness to Compete?," Working Papers 0511, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0511
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    2. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, September.
    3. Anna Dreber & Emma Essen & Eva Ranehill, 2011. "Outrunning the gender gap—boys and girls compete equally," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 567-582, November.
    4. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
    5. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Filippin, Antonio & Crosetto, Paolo, 2014. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 8184, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Ladan Rahbari & Zeinab Mahmudabadi, 2017. "What Does It Mean to Be a Woman? An Exploratory Study of Femininities among Mazandarani, Azeri and Kurdish Female University Students in Iran," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 6(3), pages 1-12, August.
    3. Werner Bönte & Monika Piegeler, 2013. "Gender gap in latent and nascent entrepreneurship: driven by competitiveness," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 961-987, December.
    4. Cadsby, C. Bram & Servátka, Maroš & Song, Fei, 2013. "How competitive are female professionals? A tale of identity conflict," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 284-303.
    5. Becchetti, Leonardo & Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Ottone, Stefania & Solferino, Nazaria, 2013. "Allocation criteria under task performance: The gendered preference for protection," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 96-111.
    6. Seda Ertac & Mehmet Y. Gurdal, 2012. "Personality, Group Decision-Making and Leadership," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1227, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    7. Ernesto Reuben & Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2017. "Preferences and Biases in Educational Choices and Labour Market Expectations: Shrinking the Black Box of Gender," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2153-2186, September.
    8. Sproten, Alec N. & Schwieren, Christiane, 2015. "Age differences in the reaction to incentives – A test of the successful ageing extension of Social Production Functions Theory," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 6(C), pages 176-186.
    9. Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin & Janna Heider, 2015. "A Study of Outcome Reporting Bias Using Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 239-262.
    10. Sproten, Alec N. & Schwieren, Christiane, 2012. "Age differences in the reaction to incentives – do older people avoid competition?," Working Papers 0522, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Personality; Big Five; Five-factor Model; Competition; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L00 - Industrial Organization - - General - - - General

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