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Gender Differences in Competitiveness and Risk Taking: Comparing Children in Colombia and Sweden

We explore gender differences in preferences for competition and risk among children aged 9-12 in Colombia and Sweden, two countries differing in gender equality according to macro indices. We include four types of tasks that vary in gender stereotyping when looking at competitiveness: running, skipping rope, math and word search. We find that boys and girls are equally competitive in all tasks and all measures in Colombia. Unlike the consistent results in Colombia, the results in Sweden are mixed, with some indication of girls being more competitive than boys in some tasks in terms of performance change, whereas boys are more likely to choose to compete in general. Boys in both countries are more risk taking than girls, with a smaller gender gap in Sweden.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2010:18.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 04 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2010_0018
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
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  1. Pearson, Matthew & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2009. "Menstrual cycle and competitive bidding," MPRA Paper 16784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Booth, Alison L & Nolen, Patrick, 2009. "Choosing to Compete: How different are girls and boys?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7214, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Dreber, Anna & Emma, von Essen & Ranehill, Eva, 2009. "Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally," Research Papers in Economics 2009:17, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Mar 2010.
  4. Booth, Alison L & Nolen, Patrick, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7198, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2009. "Individual risk attitudes: Measurement, determinants and behavioral consequences," Munich Reprints in Economics 20049, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Lex Borghans & Bart H. H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 649-658, 04-05.
  8. Yan Chen & Peter Katuscak & Emre Ozdenoren, 2005. "Why Can’t a Woman Bid More Like a Man?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp275, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  9. L. Dahlbom & A. Jakobsson & N. Jakobsson & A. Kotsadam, 2011. "Gender and overconfidence: are girls really overconfident?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 325-327.
  10. 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.
  11. William Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 2002. "Risk Attitudes of Children and Adults: Choices Over Small and Large Probability Gains and Losses," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 53-84, June.
  12. 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.
  13. Christopher Cotton & Frank McIntyre & Joseph Price, 2009. "Gender Differences Disappear with Exposure to Competition," Working Papers 2010-11, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  14. Niels D. Grosse & Gerhard Riener, 2010. "Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  15. 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.
  16. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  17. Juan-Camilo Cárdenas & Anna Drebber & Emma von Essen & Eva Ranehill, 2012. "Gender and Cooperation in Children: Experiments in Colombia and Sweden," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 009800, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  18. 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.
  19. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  20. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  21. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity," Working Papers 200903, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  22. Thomas Buser, 2009. "The Impact of Female Sex Hormones on Competitiveness," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-082/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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