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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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    1. 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.
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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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