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Competitive Pressure Widens the Gender Gap in Performance: Evidence from a Two-Stage Competition in Mathematics

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  • Nagore Iriberri
  • Pedro Rey-Biel

Abstract

In a two-stage elimination math contest participants aged from 10 to 16 compete to pass from stage 1 to stage 2 and later to be among the winners. Although female participants have higher Math grades at school the gender gap reverses in the two stages of the math contest. More importantly, using the set of participants who take part in both stages, we find that the gender gap in performance increases from stage 1 to stage 2 of the competition. The increase in female underperformance is attributed to higher competitive pressure and alternative explanations based on discrimination and differences in reaction to increasing difficulty are ruled out.

Suggested Citation

  • Nagore Iriberri & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2016. "Competitive Pressure Widens the Gender Gap in Performance: Evidence from a Two-Stage Competition in Mathematics," Working Papers 879, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:879
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender Gap; glass-ceiling effect; education; competition; mathematics; field data;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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