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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
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Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

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Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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