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Let's (Not) Talk about Sex: The Effect of Information Provision on Gender Differences in Performance under Competition

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  • Nagore Iriberri
  • Pedro Rey-Biel

Abstract

We study how gender differences in performance under competition are affected by the provision of information regarding rival's gender and/or differences in relative ability. In a laboratory experiment, we use two tasks that differ regarding perceptions about which gender outperforms the other. We observe women's underperformance only under two conditions: 1) tasks are perceived as favoring men and 2) rivals' gender is explicitly mentioned. This result can be explained by stereotype-threat being reinforced when explicitly mentioning gender in tasks in which women already consider they are inferior. Omitting information about gender is a safe alternative to avoid women's underperformance in competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Nagore Iriberri & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "Let's (Not) Talk about Sex: The Effect of Information Provision on Gender Differences in Performance under Competition," Working Papers 583, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:583
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2014. "Gender differences and dynamics in competition: The role of luck," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 351-376, July.
    3. Sutter, Matthias & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2010. "Gender Differences in Competition Emerge Early in Life," IZA Discussion Papers 5015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Niels D. Grosse & Gerhard Riener, 2010. "Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    5. Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2012. "Gender differences in competitiveness and risk taking: Comparing children in Colombia and Sweden," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 11-23.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Gender, science & stereotypes
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-05-19 17:26:39
    2. Universities as bullies
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-12-12 19:47:27
    3. Patriarchy as an emergent process
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-06-04 17:40:24

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    Cited by:

    1. Belot, Michele & James, Jonathan & Nolen, Patrick, 2014. "Incentives and Children's Dietary Choices:A Field Experiment in Primary Schools," Department of Economics Working Papers 41226, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:esx:essedp:753 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender differences; competition; feedback information; gender perception; stereotype-threat;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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