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Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes

Author

Listed:
  • Niels D. Grosse

    () (University of Jena, Graduate College "The Economics of Innovative Change")

  • Gerhard Riener

    () (University of Jena, Graduate College "The Economics of Innovative Change")

Abstract

Gender-specific patterns of self-selection into competitive and cooperative environments may have multiple reasons. One of the most prominent explanations to this point is, that there are inherent differences between men and women when it comes to preferences regarding competition. We take a different point of view and claim that gender-task stereotypes are able to explain a large part of the under-representation of women in tournament like environments. We conduct an experiment with a quantitative task which has been shown to have a strong male connotation and a verbal task which we hypothesize to be gender neutral. After controlling for differences in performance, risk attitudes, and overconfidence, we find that women self-select significantly less into competition against men only in the quantitative task. This finding suggests that remaining gender differences for entry into competition are driven by gender-task stereotypes. As a robustness check, we explore the self-selection into incentive schemes given different gender compositions of groups and self-selection into single-sex groups given different incentive schemes. Furthermore, we report the results of a framed field experiment, where we explore a further task - throwing balls into a bucket - that has as well a male connotation. These additional results further strengthen our interpretation.

Suggested Citation

  • Niels D. Grosse & Gerhard Riener, 2010. "Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2010-017
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    Cited by:

    1. Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2012. "Gender differences in competitiveness and risk taking: Comparing children in Colombia and Sweden," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 11-23.
    2. Kamas, Linda & Preston, Anne, 2012. "The importance of being confident; gender, career choice, and willingness to compete," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 82-97.
    3. Müller, Julia & Schwieren, Christiane, 2012. "Can personality explain what is underlying women’s unwillingness to compete?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 448-460.
    4. John Ifcher & Homa Zarghamee, 2016. "Pricing competition: a new laboratory measure of gender differences in the willingness to compete," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 642-662, September.
    5. repec:qsh:wpaper:154836 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:34-45 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Pedro Bordalo & Katherine Coffman & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2016. "Stereotypes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1753-1794.
      • Pedro Bordalo & Katherine Coffman & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, "undated". "Stereotypes," Working Paper 373306, Harvard University OpenScholar.
      • Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2014. "Stereotypes," NBER Working Papers 20106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Pedro Bordalo & Katherine Coffman & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, "undated". "Stereotypes," Working Paper 467407, Harvard University OpenScholar.
      • Pedro Bordalo & Katherine Coffman & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2014. "Stereotypes," Working Paper 200246, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    8. Thomas Buser & Anna Dreber & Johanna Mollerstrom, 2015. "Stress Reactions cannot explain the Gender Gap in Willingness to compete," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-059/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    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. 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.
    11. Pedro Bordalo & Katherine B. Coffman & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2016. "Beliefs about Gender," NBER Working Papers 22972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Frank, Rachel & Huet-Vaughn, Emiliano, 2017. "Gender Differences in Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Competitive Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 10626, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9496-x is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Heblich, Stephan & Lameli, Alfred & Riener, Gerhard, 2014. "The Effect of Perceived Regional Accents on Individual Economic Behavior: A Lab Experiment on Linguistic Performance, Cognitive Ratings and Economic Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 8640, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Nagore Iriberri & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "Let's (Not) Talk about Sex: The Effect of Information Provision on Gender Differences in Performance under Competition," Working Papers 583, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    16. David Wozniak & William T. Harbaugh & Ulrich Mayr, 2014. "The Menstrual Cycle and Performance Feedback Alter Gender Differences in Competitive Choices," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 161-198.
    17. Wozniak, David, 2012. "Gender differences in a market with relative performance feedback: Professional tennis players," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 158-171.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competition; piece rate; revenue sharing; gender-task stereotype; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • 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
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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