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She Could Not Agree More: The Role of Failure Attribution in Shaping the Gender Gap in Competition Persistence

Author

Listed:
  • Manar Alnamlah

    (Department of Strategy and Innovation, Copenhagen Business School)

  • Christina Gravert

    (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

In competitive and high-reward domains such as corporate leadership and entrepreneurship, women are not only underrepresented but they are also more likely to drop-out after failure. In this study, we conducted a laboratory experiment to investigate the influence of attributing failure to one of the three causal attributions - luck, effort, and ability - on the gender difference in competition persistence. Participants compete in a real effort task and then their success or failure is attributed to one of three causal attributions. We find significant gender differences in competition persistence when failure is attributed to a lack of ability, with women dropping out more. On the contrary, when suggested that failure was due to lack of luck, women's competition persistence after failure increases relative to men. We find no gender difference when failure is attributed to a lack of effort. Our findings have important implications for designing feedback mechanisms to reduce the gender gap in competitive domains.

Suggested Citation

  • Manar Alnamlah & Christina Gravert, 2020. "She Could Not Agree More: The Role of Failure Attribution in Shaping the Gender Gap in Competition Persistence," CEBI working paper series 20-25, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kucebi:2025
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    File URL: https://www.econ.ku.dk/cebi/publikationer/working-papers/CEBI_WP_25-20.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kai Barron & Christina Gravert, 2022. "Confidence and Career Choices: An Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 124(1), pages 35-68, January.
    2. Lambrecht, Marco & Oechssler, Jörg, 2022. "Do women shy away from risky skill games?," Working Papers 0717, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    3. Lambrecht, Marco & Oechssler, Joerg, 2023. "Do women shy away from risky skill games?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 211(C), pages 241-250.
    4. Lovász, Anna & Cukrowska-Torzewska, Ewa & Rigó, Mariann & Szabó-Morvai, Ágnes, 2022. "Gender differences in the effect of subjective feedback in an online game," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 98(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    decision analysis; competition; gender gap; performance feedback; laboratory experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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