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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

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior - Experimental Evidence," Post-Print halshs-00180022, HAL.
  2. Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory," Post-Print halshs-00464388, HAL.
  3. 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, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1283-1309, November.
  4. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71, February.
  5. John List, 2008. "Informed consent in social science," Artefactual Field Experiments 00086, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Alison L. Booth & Patrick Nolen, 2009. "Choosing to Compete: How Different are Girls and Boys?," CEPR Discussion Papers 602, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Jason Shogren & John List & Michael Margolis, 1998. "Hypothetical-actual bid calibration of a multi-good auction," Framed Field Experiments 00171, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. 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.
  11. Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and in the Laboratory," Post-Print halshs-00371984, HAL.
  12. John List, 2009. "Social preferences: Some thoughts from the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00088, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. 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.
  14. John A. List, 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge Between Lab and Naturally-Occurring Data," NBER Working Papers 12992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. John A. List & Daniel Millimet, 2004. "The Market: Catalyst for Rationality and Filter of Irrationality," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000023, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. John List, 2004. "Neoclassical theory versus prospect theory: Evidence from the marketplace," Framed Field Experiments 00174, The Field Experiments Website.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000087, David K. Levine.
  21. repec:feb:artefa:0102 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. 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.
  23. John List, 2003. "Using random nth price auctions to value non-market goods and services," Framed Field Experiments 00173, The Field Experiments Website.
  24. repec:feb:artefa:0089 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 215-233, February.
  26. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. John A. List, 2004. "The Nature and Extent of Discrimination in the Marketplace: Evidence from the Field," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 49-89, February.
  31. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  32. repec:feb:artefa:0106 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. repec:feb:framed:0070 is not listed on IDEAS
  34. repec:feb:framed:0081 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
  39. Charles Mason & John List, 2010. "Are ceos expected utility maximizers?," Artefactual Field Experiments 00090, The Field Experiments Website.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  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. repec:feb:natura:0055 is not listed on IDEAS
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  52. repec:feb:framed:0068 is not listed on IDEAS
  53. John List, 2002. "Testing neoclassical competitive market theory in the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00082, The Field Experiments Website.
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