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Do Women Prefer a Co-operative Work Environment?

  • Peter Kuhn


    (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2127 North Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9210)

  • Marie-Claire Villeval


    (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France)

Are women disproportionately attracted to work environments where cooperation rather than competition is rewarded ? This paper reports the results of a real-effort experiment in which participants choose between an individual compensation scheme and a team-based payment scheme. We find that women are more likely than men to select team-based compensation in our baseline treatment, but women and men join teams with equal frequency when we add an efficiency advantage to team production. Using a simple structural discrete choice framework to reconcile these facts, we show that three elements can account for the observed patterns in the team-entry gender gap : (1) a gender gap in confidence in others (i.e. women are less pessimistic about their prospective teammates’ relative ability), (2) a greater responsiveness among men to instrumental reasons for joining teams, and (3) a greater “pure” preference for working in a team environment among women.

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Paper provided by Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure in its series Working Papers with number 1127.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1127
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