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Menstrual Cycle and Competitive Bidding

  • Matthew Pearson
  • Burkhard Schipper

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

In an experiment using two-bidder first-price sealed bid auctions with symmetric independent private values and 400 participants, we collected information on the female participants' menstrual cycles and the use of hormonal contraceptives. We find that naturally cycling women bid significantly higher than men and earn significantly lower profits than men except during the midcycle when fecundity is highest. We suggest an evolutionary hypothesis according to which women are predisposed by hormones to generally behave more riskily during their fecund phase of their menstrual cycle in order to increase the probability of conception, quality of offspring, and genetic variety. We also find that women on hormonal contraceptives bid significantly higher and earn substantially lower profits than men. This may be due to progestins contained in hormonal contraceptives or a selection effect. We discuss how our study differs from Chen, Katuscak, and Ozdenoren (2009).

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Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1110.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 05 Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:11-10
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  1. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1993. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behaviour in First-, Second- and Third-Price Auctions with Varying Numbers of Bidders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(419), pages 868-79, July.
  2. Marco Casari & John C. Ham & John H. Kagel, 2007. "Selection Bias, Demographic Effects, and Ability Effects in Common Value Auction Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1278-1304, September.
  3. David Cesarini & Christopher T. Dawes & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk Taking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 809-842, May.
  4. Chen, Yan & Katuscak, Peter & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2007. "Sealed bid auctions with ambiguity: Theory and experiments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 513-535, September.
  5. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  6. Yan Chen & Peter Katuscak & Emre Ozdenoren, 2005. "Why Can’t a Woman Bid More Like a Man?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp275, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  7. Pearson, Matthew & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2009. "The Visible Hand: Finger ratio (2D:4D) and competitive behavior," MPRA Paper 16785, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  9. Morgan John & Steiglitz Ken & Reis George, 2003. "The Spite Motive and Equilibrium Behavior in Auctions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, April.
  10. Burkhard Schipper, 2014. "Sex hormones and choice under risk," Working Papers 147, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  11. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  13. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  14. Ham, John C. & Kagel, John H., 2006. "Gender effects in private value auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 375-382, September.
  15. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  16. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Emel Filiz-Ozbay & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2007. "Auctions with Anticipated Regret: Theory and Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1407-1418, September.
  18. Dekel, E. & Scotchmer, S., 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes Towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Papers 4-99, Tel Aviv.
  19. Buser, Thomas, 2012. "The impact of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptives on competitiveness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 1-10.
  20. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  21. Zak, Paul J. & Stanton, Angela A. & Ahmadi, Sheila, 2007. "Oxytocin Increases Generosity in Humans," MPRA Paper 5650, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2006. "Stature and status: Height, ability, and labor market outcomes," Working Papers 27, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  23. Thomas Buser, 2011. "Hormones and Social Preferences," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-046/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  24. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  26. Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Sex Hormones and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 128, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  27. Ellen Garbarino & Robert Slonim & Justin Sydnor, 2011. "Digit ratios (2D:4D) as predictors of risky decision making for both sexes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 1-26, February.
  28. Robson, Arthur J., 1996. "The Evolution of Attitudes to Risk: Lottery Tickets and Relative Wealth," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 190-207, June.
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