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Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences

  • Jeffery Flory
  • John List
  • Kenneth Leonard
  • Uri Gneezy

Gender differences in competitive behavior have received much attention, demonstrating a systematic gap between males' and females' tendencies to compete. Theories predict a biological factor linked to an evolutionary response to the different paths to reproductive success for men and women. Since strategies for reproductive success change over the female life-cycle, the gender gap is predicted to be largest for young adults but after menopause women should be as competitive as men. Using data drawn from two very different societies, we find strong support for this theoretical prediction: competitiveness in women is tightly linked to their biological roles in childrearing.

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Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Artefactual Field Experiments with number 00072.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00072
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.fieldexperiments.com

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  1. David Lucking-Reiley & John List, 2000. "Demand reduction in a multi-unit auction: Evidence from a sportscard field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00180, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. John List & Craig Gallet, 2001. "What Experimental Protocol Influence Disparities Between Actual and Hypothetical Stated Values?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(3), pages 241-254, November.
  3. Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1925-53, December.
  4. Gary Charness & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 956-78, June.
  5. David Lucking-Reiley & John List, 2002. "The effects of seed money and refunds on charitable giving: Experimental evidence from a university capital campaign," Natural Field Experiments 00301, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. List, John A & Shogren, Jason F, 1998. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1350-55, December.
  8. John A. List & Daniel L. Millimet & Per G. Fredriksson & W. Warren McHone, 2003. "Effects of Environmental Regulations on Manufacturing Plant Births: Evidence from a Propensity Score Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 944-952, November.
  9. John A. List, 2006. "Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 463-471, August.
  10. John List & Todd Cherry, 2000. "Learning to Accept in Ultimatum Games: Evidence from an Experimental Design that Generates Low Offers," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 11-29, June.
  11. John List, 2005. "Scientific Numerology, Preference Anomalies, and Environmental Policymaking," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 35-53, 09.
  12. John A. List & Mitch Kunce, 2000. "Environmental Protection and Economic Growth: What Do the Residuals Tell Us?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(2), pages 267-282.
  13. List, John A. & Cherry, Todd L., 2008. "Examining the role of fairness in high stakes allocation decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-8, January.
  14. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  15. John A. List, 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge Between Lab and Naturally-Occurring Data," NBER Working Papers 12992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. List, John A. & McHone, W. Warren & Millimet, Daniel L., 2004. "Effects of environmental regulation on foreign and domestic plant births: is there a home field advantage?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 303-326, September.
  17. John List, 2006. "The behavioralist meets the market: Measuring social preferences and reputation effects in actual transactions," Natural Field Experiments 00300, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior - Experimental Evidence," Post-Print halshs-00180022, HAL.
  19. Dekel, E. & Scotchmer, S., 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes Towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Papers 4-99, Tel Aviv.
  20. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2008. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence from a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," NBER Working Papers 13727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. John List, 2004. "Testing neoclassical competitive theory in multi-lateral decentralized markets," Framed Field Experiments 00176, The Field Experiments Website.
  22. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  23. Daniel Millimet & John List, 2008. "The market: Catalyst for rationality and filter of irrationality," Framed Field Experiments 00179, The Field Experiments Website.
  24. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  25. George Wu & John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006. "The uncertainty effect: When a risky prospect is valued less than its worst possible outcome," Framed Field Experiments 00152, The Field Experiments Website.
  26. List, John A, 2003. "Using Random nth Price Auctions to Value Non-market Goods and Services," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 193-205, March.
  27. List, John A. & Price, Michael K., 2009. "The role of social connections in charitable fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 160-169, February.
  28. List, John A. & Rondeau, Daniel, 2003. "The impact of challenge gifts on charitable giving: an experimental investigation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 153-159, May.
  29. John A. List & Daniel M. Sturm, 2006. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1249-1281.
  30. repec:feb:artefa:0102 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. John A. List, 2002. "Preference Reversals of a Different Kind: The "More Is Less" Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1636-1643, December.
  32. Booth, Alison L & Nolen, Patrick, 2009. "Choosing to Compete: How different are girls and boys?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7214, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  33. List, John A. & Margolis, Michael & Shogren, Jason F., 1998. "Hypothetical-actual bid calibration of a multigood auction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 263-268, September.
  34. John A. List, 2009. "Social Preferences: Some Thoughts from the Field," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 563-583, 05.
  35. John A. List & W. Warren McHone & Daniel L. Millimet, 2003. "Effects of air quality regulation on the destination choice of relocating plants," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 657-678, October.
  36. repec:feb:framed:0070 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. John A. List & Shelby Gerking, 2000. "Regulatory Federalism and Environmental Protection in the United States," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 453-471.
  38. repec:feb:framed:0068 is not listed on IDEAS
  39. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
  40. John List & Charles Mason, 2009. "Are CEOs Expected Utility Maximizers?," NBER Working Papers 15453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. List, John A. & Peysakhovich, Yana, 2011. "Charitable donations are more responsive to stock market booms than busts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 166-169, February.
  42. John List, 2008. "Informed consent in social science," Artefactual Field Experiments 00086, The Field Experiments Website.
  43. John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
  44. David Wozniak & William T. Harbaugh & Ulrich Mayr, 2010. "The Menstrual Cycle and Performance Feedback Alter Gender Differences in Competitive Choices," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2010-2, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  45. John A. List, 2004. "Young, Selfish and Male: Field evidence of social preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 121-149, 01.
  46. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, 03.
  47. Jason Shogren & John List, 1998. "Calibration of the difference between actual and hypothetical valuations in a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00296, The Field Experiments Website.
  48. John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2005. "Conspiraces and Secret Price Discounts in the Marketplace: Evidence from Field Experiments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 700-717, Autumn.
  49. repec:feb:framed:0081 is not listed on IDEAS
  50. Jeffrey A. Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2010. "Do Competitive Work Places Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job-Entry Decisions," NBER Working Papers 16546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  51. List John A. & Millimet Daniel L & McHone Warren, 2004. "The Unintended Disincentive in the Clean Air Act," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, February.
  52. John A. List, 2006. "Using Hicksian Surplus Measures to Examine Consistency of Individual Preferences: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 115-134, 03.
  53. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  54. List, John A. & Mason, Charles F., 2001. "Optimal Institutional Arrangements for Transboundary Pollutants in a Second-Best World: Evidence from a Differential Game with Asymmetric Players," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 277-296, November.
  55. List, John A & Bulte, Erwin H & Shogren, Jason F, 2002. ""Beggar Thy Neighbor": Testing for Free Riding in State-Level Endangered Species Expenditures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 111(3-4), pages 303-15, June.
  56. List, John A. & Co, Catherine Y., 2000. "The Effects of Environmental Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-20, July.
  57. John List, 2002. "Testing neoclassical competitive market theory in the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00082, The Field Experiments Website.
  58. repec:feb:natura:0055 is not listed on IDEAS
  59. Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and in the Laboratory," Post-Print halshs-00371984, HAL.
  60. repec:feb:artefa:0106 is not listed on IDEAS
  61. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
  62. 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.
  63. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
  64. repec:feb:artefa:0089 is not listed on IDEAS
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