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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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  2. Matthias Sutter & Francesco Feri & Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Katarina Nordblom & Daniela Rutzler, 2010. "Social preferences in childhood and adolescence - A large-scale experiment," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 10-07, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
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  7. 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.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 3-21, October.
  9. Timothy N. Cason & William A. Masters & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2010. "Entry Into Winner-Take-All And Proportional-Prize Contests:An Experimental Study," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1231, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  10. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
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  19. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, . "Race and Gender in the Labor Market," IPR working papers 98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  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. 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.
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