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Rise to the Challenge or Not Give a Damn: Differential Performance in High vs. Low Stakes Tests

  • Attali, Yigal

    ()

    (ETS)

  • Neeman, Zvika

    ()

    (Tel Aviv University)

  • Schlosser, Analia

    ()

    (Tel Aviv University)

This paper studies how different demographic groups respond to incentives by comparing performance in the GRE examination in "high" and "low" stakes situations. The high stakes situation is the real GRE examination and the low stakes situation is a voluntary experimental section of the GRE that examinees were invited to take immediately after they finished the real GRE exam. We show that males exhibit a larger difference in performance between the high and low stakes examinations than females, and that Whites exhibit a larger difference in performance between the high and low stakes examinations relative to Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics. We find that the larger differential performance between high and low stakes tests among men and whites can be partially explained by the lower level of effort invested by these groups in the low stake test.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5693.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5693
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  1. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2010. "Explaining the Gender Gap in Math Test Scores: The Role of Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 129-44, Spring.
  2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences, and Gender," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 556-90, April.
  3. Rothstein, J.M.Jesse M., 2004. "College performance predictions and the SAT," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 297-317.
  4. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. 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.
  6. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 2429, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  8. 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.
  9. Paserman, M. Daniele, 2007. "Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players," IZA Discussion Papers 2834, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "A Sceptic's Comment on the Study of Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C1-C9, 03.
  14. Örs, Evren & Palomino, Frédéric & Peyrache, Eloïc, 2008. "Performance Gender-Gap: Does Competition Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6891, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Christopher Cotton & Frank McIntyre & Joseph Price, 2010. "The Gender Gap Cracks Under Pressure: A Detailed Look at Male and Female Performance Differences During Competitions," NBER Working Papers 16436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Victor Lavy, 2013. "Gender Differences in Market Competitiveness in a Real Workplace: Evidence from Performance‐based Pay Tournaments among Teachers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(569), pages 540-573, 06.
  18. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental," Post-Print halshs-00175039, HAL.
  19. 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.
  20. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
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