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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. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Choosing to compete: How different are girls and boys?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 542-555.
  2. Doris Weichselbaumer & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2007. "The effects of competition and equal treatment laws on gender wage differentials," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 235-287, 04.
  3. 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.
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  5. Marie-Claire Villeval & Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior - Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 0512, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  6. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, 09.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin, 2006. "Performance Pay and Multi-dimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 2001, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Yves Duhaldeborde & John H. Tyler, 2000. "How important are the cognitive skills of teenagers in predicting subsequent earnings?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 547-568.
  13. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2009. "Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 709, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 16 Oct 2009.
  14. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  18. Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2008. "How Costly is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," NBER Working Papers 13923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Matthias Sutter & Francesco Feri & Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Katarina Nordblom & Daniela R?tzler, 2010. "Social preferences in childhood and adolescence ? A large-scale experiment," Working Papers 2010-13, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  20. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. repec:pit:wpaper:342 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. 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.
  24. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  25. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
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