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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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9382
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mats Hammarstedt & Ali M. Ahmed & Lina Andersson, 2015. "Sexual Prejudice and Labor Market Outcomes for Gays and Lesbians: Evidence from Sweden," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 90-109, January.
    2. Jeffrey Flory & Uri Gneezy & Kenneth Leonard & John List, 2012. "Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00072, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Erik Plug & Dinand Webbink & Nick Martin, 2014. "Sexual Orientation, Prejudice, and Segregation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 123-159.
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    7. Heather Antecol & Anneke Jong & Michael Steinberger, 2008. "The Sexual Orientation Wage Gap: The Role of Occupational Sorting and Human Capital," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(4), pages 518-543, July.
    8. Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2003. "Sexual orientation discrimination in hiring," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 629-642, December.
    9. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:604:p:2153-2186 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
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    15. Ernesto Reuben & Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2017. "Preferences and Biases in Educational Choices and Labour Market Expectations: Shrinking the Black Box of Gender," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2153-2186, September.
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    18. Ali M. Ahmed & Lina Andersson & Mats Hammarstedt, 2013. "Are Gay Men and Lesbians Discriminated against in the Hiring Process?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 565-585, January.
    19. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    20. Berge, Lars Ivar Oppedal & Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Garcia Pires, Armando Jose & Tungodden, Bertil, 2015. "Competitive in the lab, successful in the field?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 303-317.
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    Citations

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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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:96-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Thomas Buser, 2016. "How does the Gender Difference in Willingness to Compete evolve with Experience?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-017/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Chen, Shuai & van Ours, Jan C., 2017. "Subjective Well-Being and Partnership Dynamics: Are Same-Sex Relationships Different?," IZA Discussion Papers 11043, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Shuai Chen & Jan (J.C.) van Ours, 2017. "Subjective Well-being and Partnership Dynamics; Are Same-Sex Relationships Different?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-088/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:125-30 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. Jeffrey A. Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & Christina Rott & Olga Stoddard, 2018. "Increasing Workplace Diversity: Evidence from a Recruiting Experiment at a Fortune 500 Company," CESifo Working Paper Series 7025, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiments; sexual orientation; gender; competitiveness; education; earnings;

    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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