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Do Women Have More Shame than Men? An Experiment on Self-Assessment and the Shame of Overestimating Oneself

  • Ludwig, Sandra
  • Thoma, Carmen

We analyze how subjects’ self-assessment depends on whether its accuracy is observable to others. We find that women downgrade their selfassessment given observability while men do not. Women avoid the shame they may have if others observe that they overestimated themselves. Men, however, do not seem to be similarly shame-averse. This gender difference may be due to different societal expectations: While we find that men are expected to be overconfident, women are not. Shame-aversion may explain recent findings that women shy away from competition, demanding jobs and wage negotiations, as entering these situations is a statement to be confident of one’s ability.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 12905.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:12905
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  1. Johansson Stenman, Olof & Nordblom, Katarina, 2010. "Are Men Really More Overconfident than Women? - A Natural Field Experiment on Exam Behavior," Working Papers in Economics 461, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  2. Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2008. "How Costly is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," NBER Working Papers 13923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. repec:lmu:muenar:19376 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Eriksson, Tor & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2008. "Feedback and Incentives: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Houser, Daniel & Vetter, Stefan & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Fairness and cheating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1645-1655.
  10. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Differences in the Economic Decisions of Men and Women: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  11. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Ewers, Mara & Zimmermann, Florian, 2012. "Image and Misreporting," IZA Discussion Papers 6425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  14. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Sex and Risk: Experimental Evidence," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  15. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender matching and competitiveness: experimental evidence," Post-Print halshs-00661770, HAL.
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