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Gender Differences in Strategic Behaviour under Competitive Pressure: Evidence on Omission Patterns in University Entrance Examinations

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  • Pekkarinen, Tuomas

    () (VATT, Helsinki)

Abstract

This paper studies gender differences in performance in university entrance examinations. We exploit data from the exams that the nine Finnish universities providing education in economics and business use to choose their students. These exams are multiple choice tests where wrong answers are penalized by minus points and omissions yield zero points. This scoring rule means that the number of omitted items will affect the probability of entry. The strategic setting of the applicants varies depending on the university where she is applying to and on the amount of starting points that she is rewarded based on her high school success. The results show that, controlling for starting points, women perform worse than men in the entrance exam and are less likely to gain entry. Women also omit more items in the exam. Using the Rasch Model to derive the predicted probabilities of answering items correctly for each applicant, we show that women deviate more from the number of answered items that would maximise the predicted probability of entry than men and that they do so because they answer to too few items.

Suggested Citation

  • Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2014. "Gender Differences in Strategic Behaviour under Competitive Pressure: Evidence on Omission Patterns in University Entrance Examinations," IZA Discussion Papers 8018, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nekby, Lena & Thoursie, Peter Skogman & Vahtrik, Lars, 2008. "Gender and self-selection into a competitive environment: Are women more overconfident than men?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 405-407, September.
    2. Hans K. Hvide, 2002. "Tournament Rewards and Risk Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 877-898, October.
    3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences, and Gender," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 556-590, April.
    4. Albert Burgos, 2004. "Guessing and gambling," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(4), pages 1-10.
    5. Anand M. Goel & Anjan V. Thakor, 2008. "Overconfidence, CEO Selection, and Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2737-2784, December.
    6. Alan Manning & Farzad Saidi, 2010. "Understanding the Gender Pay Gap: What's Competition Got to Do with it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 681-698, July.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Stepan Jurajda & Daniel Munich, 2011. "Gender Gap in Performance under Competitive Pressure: Admissions to Czech Universities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 514-518, May.
    10. Evren Ors & Frédéric Palomino & Eloïc Peyrache, 2013. "Performance Gender Gap: Does Competition Matter?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 443-499.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2004:i:4:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Ş. Pelin Akyol & James Key & Kala Krishna, 2016. "Hit or Miss? Test Taking Behavior in Multiple Choice Exams," NBER Working Papers 22401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    competition; multiple choice exams; gender differences;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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