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Gender Differences in Competition Emerge Early in Life

  • Sutter, Matthias

    ()

    (University of Cologne)

  • Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela

    ()

    (University of Innsbruck)

We study gender differences in the willingness to compete in a large-scale experiment with 1,035 children and teenagers, aged three to eighteen years. Using an easy math task for children older than eight years and a running task for the younger ones we find that boys are much more likely to enter a tournament than girls across the whole age spectrum considered here. This gender gap is observed already with three-year olds, indicating that gender differences in competitiveness emerge very early in life. The gap is robust to controlling for gender differences in risk attitudes and overconfidence.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5015.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5015
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  1. Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2013. "How Costly Is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, May.
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  8. 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.
  9. Kate Krause & Timothy Berry & William Harbaugh, 2001. "Garp for kids: On the development of rational choice behavior," Artefactual Field Experiments 00056, The Field Experiments Website.
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  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  14. Sutter, Matthias & Feri, Francesco & Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Nordblom, Katarina & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2010. "Social Preferences in Childhood and Adolescence: A Large-Scale Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  17. Cason, Timothy & Masters, William & Sheremeta, Roman, 2010. "Entry into Winner-Take-All and Proportional-Prize Contests: An Experimental Study," MPRA Paper 49886, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  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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  21. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
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  24. William T. Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Timothy R. Berry, 2001. "GARP for Kids: On the Development of Rational Choice Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1539-1545, December.
  25. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
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