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The Emergence of Male Leadership in Competitive Environments

Author

Listed:
  • Reuben, Ernesto

    () (New York University, Abu Dhabi)

  • Rey-Biel, Pedro

    () (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Sapienza, Paola

    () (Northwestern University)

  • Zingales, Luigi

    () (University of Chicago)

Abstract

We present evidence from an experiment in which groups select a leader to compete against the leaders of other groups in a real-effort task that they have all performed in the past. We find that women are selected much less often as leaders than is suggested by their individual past performance. We study three potential explanations for the underrepresentation of women, namely, gender differences in overconfidence concerning past performance, in the willingness to exaggerate past performance to the group, and in the reaction to monetary incentives. We find that men’s overconfidence is the driving force behind the observed prevalence of male representation.

Suggested Citation

  • Reuben, Ernesto & Rey-Biel, Pedro & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2010. "The Emergence of Male Leadership in Competitive Environments," IZA Discussion Papers 5300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5300
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Malmendier, Ulrike & Tate, Geoffrey, 2008. "Who makes acquisitions? CEO overconfidence and the market's reaction," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, pages 20-43.
    2. 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.
    3. 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, September.
    4. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2005. "CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2661-2700, December.
    5. Booth, Alison L., 2009. "Gender and competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 599-606, December.
    6. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    7. Balafoutas, Loukas & Sutter, Matthias, 2010. "Gender, Competition and the Efficiency of Policy Interventions," IZA Discussion Papers 4955, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    12. 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.
    13. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Diagnosing Discrimination: Stock Returns and CEO Gender," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 531-541, 04-05.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    overconfidence; discrimination; gender gap; glass ceiling; leadership;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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