IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Preferences and biases in educational choices and labor market expectations: shrinking the black box of gender

  • Ernesto Reuben
  • Matthew Wiswall
  • Basit Zafar

Standard observed characteristics explain only part of the differences between men and women in education choices and labor market trajectories. Using an experiment to derive students' levels of overconfidence, and preferences for competitiveness and risk, this paper investigates whether these behavioral biases and preferences explain gender differences in college major choices and expected future earnings. In a sample of high-ability undergraduates, we find that competitiveness and overconfidence, but not risk aversion, are systematically related with expectations about future earnings: Individuals who are overconfident and overly competitive have significantly higher earnings expectations. Moreover, gender differences in overconfidence and competitiveness explain about 18 percent of the gender gap in earnings expectations. These experimental measures explain as much of the gender gap in earnings expectations as a rich set of control variables, including test scores and family background, and they are poorly proxied by these same control variables, underscoring that they represent independent variation. While expected earnings are related to college major choices, the experimental measures are not related with college major choice.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr627.html
Download Restriction: no

File URL: https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr627.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 627.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:627
Contact details of provider: Postal:
33 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10045-0001

Web page: http://www.newyorkfed.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.ny.frb.org/rmaghome/staff_rp/ Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Charles Brown & Mary Corcoran, 1996. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male/Female Wage Gap," NBER Working Papers 5580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  3. Booth, Alison L. & Nolen, Patrick J., 2009. "Choosing to Compete: How Different Are Girls and Boys?," IZA Discussion Papers 4027, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
  5. V. Joseph Hotz & Peter Arcidiacono & Songman Kang, 2010. "Modeling College Major Choices Using Elicited Measures of Expectations and Counterfactuals," Working Papers 10-30, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  6. Belzil, Christian & Leonardi, Marco, 2006. "Can Risk Aversion Explain Schooling Attainments? Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 2123, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2013. "Bonus Culture: Competitive Pay, Screening, and Multitasking," CEPR Discussion Papers 9419, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  10. 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.
  11. Moen, Espen R & Rosén, Åsa, 2004. "Performance Pay and Adverse Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 4511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Thomas Buser & Muriel Niederle & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2014. "Gender, Competitiveness, and Career Choices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1409-1447.
  13. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  14. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender Matching And Competitiveness: Experimental Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 816-835, 01.
  15. Hopfensitz, Astrid & Miquel-Florensa, Josepa, 2013. "Mill Ownership and Farmer's Cooperative Behavior: The case of Costa Rica Coffee Farmers," TSE Working Papers 13-395, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Sep 2015.
  16. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
  17. Áureo De Paula & Gil Shapira & Petra E. Todd, 2014. "How Beliefs About Hiv Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence From Malawi," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 944-964, 09.
  18. Stephen B. Jarrell & T. D. Stanley, 2004. "Declining Bias and Gender Wage Discrimination? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  19. Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2011. "A field study on cooperativeness and impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1144-1155.
  20. Dohmen T.J. & Falk A., 2010. "Performance pay and multi-dimensional sorting - Productivity, preferences and gender," Research Memorandum 012, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  21. Wiswall, Matthew & Zafar, Basit, 2011. "Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment," Staff Reports 500, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Aug 2014.
  22. Timothy N. Cason & William A. Masters & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2010. "Entry into Winner-Take-All and Proportional-Prize Contests: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 10-10, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  23. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  24. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Andrew Healy & Jennifer Pate, 2011. "Can Teams Help to Close the Gender Competition Gap?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 1192-1204, 09.
  26. Kristin Kleinjans, 2008. "Do Gender Differences in Preferences for Competition Matter for Occupational Expectations?," Economics Working Papers 2008-09, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  27. Basit Zafar, 2009. "College major choice and the gender gap," Staff Reports 364, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  28. Müller, Julia & Schwieren, Christiane, 2011. "Can Personality Explain what is Underlying Women's Unwillingness to Compete?," Working Papers 0511, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  29. Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2013. "How Costly Is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, May.
  30. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2008. "Learning About Academic Ability and the College Drop-Out Decision," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20086, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  31. Steffen Andersen & Seda Ertac & Uri Gneezy & John A. List & Sandra Maximiano, 2013. "Gender, Competitiveness, and Socialization at a Young Age: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1438-1443, October.
  32. Reuben, Ernesto & Rey-Biel, Pedro & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2010. "The Emergence of Male Leadership in Competitive Environments," IZA Discussion Papers 5300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  33. Dan A. Black & Amelia M. Haviland & Seth G. Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2008. "Gender Wage Disparities among the Highly Educated," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 630-659.
  34. Ernst Fehr & Andreas Leibbrandt, 2008. "Cooperativeness and Impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," IEW - Working Papers 378, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  35. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  36. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, 2008. "Do people behave in experiments as in the field?—evidence from donations," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 268-281, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:627. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Farber)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.