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Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck

Author

Listed:
  • David Gill

    (University of Oxford)

  • Victoria Prowse

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

In a real effort experiment with repeated competition we find striking differences in how the work effort of men and women responds to previous wins and losses. For women losing per se is detrimental to productivity, but for men a loss impacts negatively on productivity only when the prize at stake is big enough. Responses to luck are more persistent and explain more of the variation in behavior for women, and account for about half of the gender performance gap in our experiment. Our findings shed new light on why women may be less inclined to pursue competition-intensive careers.

Suggested Citation

  • David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2013. "Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck," Discussion Papers 2013001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  • Handle: RePEc:cex:dpaper:2013001
    as

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    File URL: http://cess-wb.nuff.ox.ac.uk/documents/DP2013/CESS_DP2013_001.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 229-330, Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor market outcomes; Gender gap; Experiment; Real effort; Career development; Competition; Luck; Productivity; Relative performance evaluation; Tournament; Wining; Losing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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