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Do Gays Shy Away from Competition? Do Lesbians Compete Too Much?

Author

Listed:
  • Buser, Thomas

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Geijtenbeek, Lydia

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Plug, Erik

    (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

It is an established fact that gay men earn less than other men and lesbian women earn more than other women. In this paper we study whether differences in competitive preferences, which have emerged as a likely determinant of labour market differences between men and women, can provide a plausible explanation. We conduct an experiment on a Dutch online survey panel to measure the competitiveness of gay, lesbian and straight panel members. For differences in competitiveness to partially explain sexual orientation differences in earnings, gay men would need to be less competitive than other men and lesbian women more competitive than other women. Our findings confirm this competitiveness hypothesis for men, but not for women. Gay men compete less than other men, while lesbian women compete as much as other women. Linking our experimental measure to survey data, we show that competitiveness is a significant predictor of earnings. Differences in competitiveness can account for a significant portion of the gay earnings penalty, but cannot explain the lesbian premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Buser, Thomas & Geijtenbeek, Lydia & Plug, Erik, 2015. "Do Gays Shy Away from Competition? Do Lesbians Compete Too Much?," IZA Discussion Papers 9382, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9382
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Geijtenbeek, Lydia & Plug, Erik, 2015. "Is There a Penalty for Becoming a Woman? Is There a Premium for Becoming a Man? Evidence from a Sample of Transsexual Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 9077, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Geijtenbeek, Lydia & Plug, Erik, 2018. "Is there a penalty for registered women? Is there a premium for registered men? Evidence from a sample of transsexual workers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 334-347.
    3. Thomas Buser & Anna Dreber & Johanna Mollerstrom, 2017. "The impact of stress on tournament entry," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 506-530, June.
    4. Halko, Marja-Liisa & Sääksvuori, Lauri, 2017. "Competitive behavior, stress, and gender," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 96-109.
    5. Thomas Buser & Huaiping Yuan, 2019. "Do Women Give Up Competing More Easily? Evidence from the Lab and the Dutch Math Olympiad," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 225-252, July.
    6. Shuai Chen & Jan C. Ours, 2018. "Subjective Well-being and Partnership Dynamics: Are Same-Sex Relationships Different?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(6), pages 2299-2320, December.
    7. Flory, Jeffrey A. & Gneezy, Uri & Leonard, Kenneth L. & List, John A., 2018. "Gender, age, and competition: A disappearing gap?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 256-276.
    8. Manuel Bagues & Mauro Sylos-Labini & Natalia Zinovyeva, 2017. "Does the Gender Composition of Scientific Committees Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1207-1238, April.
    9. Thomas (T.) Buser & Noemi Peter & Stefan Wolter, 2017. "Gender, Willingness to Compete and Career Choices Along the Whole Ability Distribution," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-081/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Thomas Buser & Leonie Gerhards & Joël J. van der Weele, 2016. "Measuring Responsiveness to Feedback as a Personal Trait," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-043/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2017. "Gender Differences in Tournament Choices: Risk Preferences, Overconfidence or Competitiveness?," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 14, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    12. Thomas Buser, 2016. "How does the Gender Difference in Willingness to Compete evolve with Experience?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-017/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    13. van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2016. "Gender differences in tournament choices: Risk preferences, overconfidence or competitiveness?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2016-207, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    14. Kamas, Linda & Preston, Anne, 2018. "Competing with confidence: The ticket to labor market success for college-educated women," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 231-252.
    15. Chen, Shuai, 2019. "Marriage, minorities, and mass movements," Other publications TiSEM 9cb1b11d-12e6-46a8-adca-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    16. Thomas Buser & Noemi Peter & Stefan C. Wolter, 2017. "Gender, Competitiveness, and Study Choices in High School: Evidence from Switzerland," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 125-130, May.
    17. Jeffrey A. Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & Christina Rott & Olga Stoddard, 2021. "Increasing Workplace Diversity: Evidence from a Recruiting Experiment at a Fortune 500 Company," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 56(1), pages 73-92.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; competitiveness; gender; sexual orientation; experiments; earnings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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