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Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally

  • Dreber, Anna

    ()

    (Institute for Financial Research (SIFR))

  • Emma, von Essen

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)

  • Ranehill, Eva

    ()

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

Recent studies find that women are less competitive than men. This gender difference in competitiveness has been suggested as one possible explanation for why men occupy the majority of top positions in many sectors. In this study we explore competitiveness in children, with the premise that both context and gendered stereotypes regarding the task at hand may influence competitive behavior. A related field experiment on Israeli children shows that only boys react to competition by running faster when competing in a race. We here test if there is a gender gap in running among 7-10 year old Swedish children. We also introduce two female sports, skipping rope and dancing, to see if competitiveness is task dependent. We find no gender difference in reaction to competition in any task; boys and girls compete equally. Studies in different environments with different types of tasks are thus important in order to make generalizable claims about gender differences in competitiveness.

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File URL: http://www2.ne.su.se/paper/wp09_17rev.pdf
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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2009:17.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 19 Oct 2009
Date of revision: 01 Mar 2010
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2009_0017
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/Email:


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  1. Günther, Christina & Ekinci, Neslihan Arslan & Schwieren, Christiane & Strobel, Martin, 2010. "Women can't jump?--An experiment on competitive attitudes and stereotype threat," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 395-401, September.
  2. Pearson, Matthew & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2009. "Menstrual cycle and competitive bidding," MPRA Paper 16784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli, 2006. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 552-561, 04-05.
  4. repec:dgr:uvatin:20090082 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental," Post-Print halshs-00175039, HAL.
  6. Loukas Balafoutas & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Gender, competition and the efficiency of policy interventions," Working Papers 2010-12, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  7. 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).
  8. Christopher Cotton & Frank McIntyre & Joseph Price, 2009. "Gender Differences Disappear with Exposure to Competition," Working Papers 2010-11, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  9. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101, 08.
  10. Chen, Yan & Katuščák, Peter & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2013. "Why canʼt a woman bid more like a man?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 181-213.
  11. Lise Vesterlund, 2008. "How Costly is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," Working Papers 342, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2008.
  12. 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.
  13. Juan-Camilo Cárdenas & Anna Dreber & Emma von Essen & Eva Ranehill, 2011. "Gender Differences in Competitiveness and Risk Taking: Comparing Children in Colombia and Sweden," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 008910, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  14. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  15. 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.
  16. Muriel Niederle & Alexandra H. Yestrumskas, 2008. "Gender Differences in Seeking Challenges: The Role of Institutions," NBER Working Papers 13922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Matthias Sutter & Daniela R?tzler, 2010. "Gender differences in competition emerge early in life," Working Papers 2010-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  18. Joseph Price, 2008. "Gender Differences in the Response to Competition," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(3), pages 320-333, April.
  19. Wozniak, David, 2009. "Choices About Competition: Differences by gender and hormonal fluctuations, and the role of relative performance feedback," MPRA Paper 21097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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