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

  • Nagore Iriberri
  • Pedro Rey-Biel

We study how gender differences in performance under competition are affected by the provision of information regarding rivals 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 womens 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 womens underperformance in competition.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 583.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:583
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  1. Alison L. Booth & Patrick Nolen, 2009. "Choosing to Compete: How Different are Girls and Boys?," CEPR Discussion Papers 602, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Juan-Camilo Cárdenas & Anna Dreber & Emma von Essen & Eva Ranehill, 2011. "Gender Differences in Competitiveness and Risk Taking: Comparing Children in Colombia and Sweden," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 008910, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  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. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2013. "Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck," Discussion Papers 2013001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  5. 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.
  6. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  7. Niels D. Grosse & Gerhard Riener, 2010. "Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  8. 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.
  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. Dreber, Anna & Emma, von Essen & Ranehill, Eva, 2009. "Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally," Research Papers in Economics 2009:17, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Mar 2010.
  11. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender matching and competitiveness: experimental evidence," Post-Print halshs-00661770, HAL.
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