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

Listed author(s):
  • Jeffery Flory
  • Uri Gneezy
  • Kenneth Leonard
  • John List

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

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. List, John & Millimet, Daniel, 2005. "The Market: Catalyst for Rationality and Filter of Irrationality," Departmental Working Papers 0504, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. repec:feb:artefa:0102 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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.
  6. John List, 2002. "Testing neoclassical competitive market theory in the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00082, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. 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, 09.
  8. List, John A. & Mason, Charles F., 2011. "Are CEOs expected utility maximizers?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 162(1), pages 114-123, May.
  9. 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.
  10. List, John A. & Shogren, Jason F., 1998. "Calibration of the difference between actual and hypothetical valuations in a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 193-205, October.
  11. repec:feb:artefa:0106 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. repec:feb:framed:0081 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Per Fredriksson & John List & Warren McHone & Daniel Millimet, 2003. "Effects of Environmental Regulations on Manufacturing Plant Births: Evidence from a Propensity Score Matching Estimator," Natural Field Experiments 00501, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. 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.
  15. 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).
  16. 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.
  17. John A. List, 2006. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-37, February.
  18. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  19. John List & Warren McHone & Daniel Millimet, 2004. "Effects of environmental regulation on foreign and domestic plant births: is there a home field advantage?," Natural Field Experiments 00492, The Field Experiments Website.
  20. 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 956-978, June.
  21. John List, 2004. "Testing Neoclassical Competitive Theory in Multilateral Decentralized Markets," Natural Field Experiments 00490, The Field Experiments Website.
  22. 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.
  23. Uri Gneezy & John A. List & George Wu, 2006. "The Uncertainty Effect: When a Risky Prospect is Valued Less than its Worst Possible Outcome," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1283-1309.
  24. John List, 2006. "Field experiments: A bridge between lab and naturally occurring data," Artefactual Field Experiments 00083, The Field Experiments Website.
  25. John List & Todd Cherry, 2000. "Learning to Accept in Ultimatum Games: Evidence from an Experimental Design that Generates Low Offers," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 11-29, June.
  26. John List & Daniel Sturm, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," Natural Field Experiments 00482, The Field Experiments Website.
  27. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
  28. repec:feb:natura:0055 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. John List, 2003. "Using random nth price auctions to value non-market goods and services," Framed Field Experiments 00173, The Field Experiments Website.
  30. 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.
  31. Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and in the Laboratory," Post-Print halshs-00371984, HAL.
  32. 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.
  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. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  38. Dekel, Eddie & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 125-143, July.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. John A. List, 2003. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," NBER Working Papers 9736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  42. repec:feb:artefa:0089 is not listed on IDEAS
  43. John List & Warren McHone & Daniel Millimet, 2003. "Effects of air quality regulation on the destination choice of relocating plants," Natural Field Experiments 00502, The Field Experiments Website.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1925-1953, December.
  47. repec:feb:framed:0070 is not listed on IDEAS
  48. John List, 2002. "Preference Reversals of a Different Kind: The 'More is Less' Phenomenon," Framed Field Experiments 00509, The Field Experiments Website.
  49. 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.
  50. John List, 2005. "Scientific Numerology Preference Pnomalies and Environmental Policymaking," Natural Field Experiments 00488, The Field Experiments Website.
  51. 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.
  52. John A. List, 2009. "Social Preferences: Some Thoughts from the Field," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 563-583, 05.
  53. Erwin Bulte & John List & Jason Shogren, 2002. ""Beggar thy Neighbor:" Testing for Free Riding in State-Level Endangered Species Expenditures," Natural Field Experiments 00513, The Field Experiments Website.
  54. 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.
  55. John List, 2004. "Young, selfish, and male: Field evidence of social preferences," Natural Field Experiments 00298, The Field Experiments Website.
  56. John List, 2008. "Informed consent in social science," Artefactual Field Experiments 00086, The Field Experiments Website.
  57. List, John A & Shogren, Jason F, 1998. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1350-1355, December.
  58. Jeffery Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John List, 2010. "Do Competitive Work Places Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job-Entry Decisions," Natural Field Experiments 00452, The Field Experiments Website.
  59. John List & Craig Gallet, 2001. "What Experimental Protocol Influence Disparities Between Actual and Hypothetical Stated Values?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(3), pages 241-254, November.
  60. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  61. repec:feb:framed:0068 is not listed on IDEAS
  62. 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.
  63. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
  64. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
  65. John List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "Demand reduction in a multi-unit auction: Evidence from a sportscard field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00180, The Field Experiments Website.
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