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Do Women Prefer a Co-operative Work Environment?

  • Peter Kuhn

    (Department of Economics, University of California - University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Marie Claire Villeval


    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - PRES Université de Lyon - CNRS)

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 HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00633646.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working paper GATE 2011-27 ; IZA Discussion paper 5999 ; NBER Working paper 19277. 2011
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00633646
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