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The State Street Mile: Age and Gender Differences in Competition-Aversion in the Field

Author

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  • Garratt, Rodney
  • Weinberger, Catherine
  • Johnson, Nicholas

Abstract

Gender differences in “competitiveness,†previously documented in laboratory experiments, are hypothesized to play a role in a wide array of economic outcomes. The current paper provides evidence of competition-aversion in a natural setting somewhere between the simplicity of a laboratory experiment and the full complexity and ambiguity of a labor market. The “State Street Mile†race offers both male and female participants a choice between two different levels of competition. Large, systematic age and gender differences are observed in the relationship between true ability and the decision to enter the more competitive race. Overall, qualified women and older runners are far less likely than qualified young men to enter a competitive race with cash prizes. However, the fastest young women unanimously enter the competitive race. Therefore, while we confirm age and gender differences in competitiveness in our field setting, the economic consequences to capable young women are rather small.

Suggested Citation

  • Garratt, Rodney & Weinberger, Catherine & Johnson, Nicholas, 2009. "The State Street Mile: Age and Gender Differences in Competition-Aversion in the Field," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt6m74v818, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt6m74v818
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, September.
    2. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
    3. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Becchetti, Leonardo & Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Ottone, Stefania & Solferino, Nazaria, 2013. "Allocation criteria under task performance: The gendered preference for protection," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 96-111.
    2. Sheheryar Banuri & Katarina Dankova & Philip Keefer, 2017. "It's not all fun and games: Feedback, task motivation, and effort," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 17-10, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    3. Karen Mumford & Cristina Sechel, 2017. "Pay, Rank and Job Satisfaction amongst Academic Economists in the UK," Discussion Papers 17/17, Department of Economics, University of York.
    4. Dato, Simon & Nieken, Petra, 2014. "Gender differences in competition and sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 64-80.
    5. Fischer, Stefanie, 2017. "The downside of good peers: How classroom composition differentially affects men's and women's STEM persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 211-226.
    6. Goodall, Amanda H. & Osterloh, Margit, 2015. "Women Have to Enter the Leadership Race to Win: Using Random Selection to Increase the Supply of Women into Senior Positions," IZA Discussion Papers 9331, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Frick, Bernd, 2011. "Gender differences in competitiveness: Empirical evidence from professional distance running," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 389-398, June.
    8. Madiès, Thierry & Villeval, Marie Claire & Wasmer, Malgorzata, 2013. "Intergenerational attitudes towards strategic uncertainty and competition: A field experiment in a Swiss bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 153-168.
    9. Gee, Laura Katherine, 2016. "The More You Know: Information Effects on Job Application Rates in a Large Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 10372, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Artz, Benjamin & Goodall, Amanda H. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2016. "Do Women Ask?," IZA Discussion Papers 10183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2015. "Are Women More Attracted to Co‐operation Than Men?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 115-140, February.
    12. Kato, Takao & Kodama, Naomi, 2017. "Women in the Workplace and Management Practices: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 10788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    Keywords

    competition-aversion; age; gender;

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