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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. 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.
  2. Todd L. Cherry & John A. List, 2004. "Examining the Role of Fairness in High Stakes Allocation Decisions," Working Papers 04-01, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  3. repec:feb:artefa:0106 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. John A. List, 2004. "The Nature and Extent of Discrimination in the Marketplace: Evidence from the Field," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 49-89.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71.
  9. repec:feb:framed:0068 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. 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.
  11. John List & Michael Price, 2005. "Conspiracies and secret price discounts in the marketplace: Evidence from field experiments," Framed Field Experiments 00115, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Charles Mason & John List, 2010. "Are ceos expected utility maximizers?," Artefactual Field Experiments 00090, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0008, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  14. John List, 2006. "Field experiments: A bridge between lab and naturally occurring data," Artefactual Field Experiments 00083, The Field Experiments Website.
  15. John A. List, 2004. "Testing Neoclassical Competitive Theory in Multilateral Decentralized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1131-1156, October.
  16. 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.
  17. John A. List & Daniel M. Sturm, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," NBER Working Papers 10609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. John List & Michael Price, 2009. "The role of social connections in charitable fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00302, The Field Experiments Website.
  19. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  20. 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.
  21. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. 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.
  23. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Choosing to compete: How different are girls and boys?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 542-555.
  24. repec:feb:artefa:0102 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Gary Charness & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory," Working Papers 0931, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. John List, 2006. "Using hicksian surplus measures to examine consistency of individual preferences: Evidence from a field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00177, The Field Experiments Website.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. John A. List & Daniel Millimet, 2004. "The Market: Catalyst for Rationality and Filter of Irrationality," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000023, UCLA Department of Economics.
  35. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. John A. List, 2009. "Social Preferences: Some Thoughts from the Field," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 563-583, 05.
  44. 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.
  45. repec:feb:framed:0081 is not listed on IDEAS
  46. Dekel, E. & Scotchmer, S., 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes Towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Papers 4-99, Tel Aviv.
  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. repec:feb:framed:0070 is not listed on IDEAS
  49. 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.
  50. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, 03.
  51. 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.
  52. John List, 2008. "Informed consent in social science," Artefactual Field Experiments 00086, The Field Experiments Website.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  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. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
  57. John List, 2002. "Testing neoclassical competitive market theory in the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00082, The Field Experiments Website.
  58. repec:feb:artefa:0089 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. 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.
  61. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. repec:feb:natura:0055 is not listed on IDEAS
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