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Gender Differences in Market Competitiveness in a Real Workplace: Evidence from Performance-based Pay Tournaments among Teachers

  • Victor Lavy

Recent lab and field experiments suggest that women are less effective than men in a competitive environment. In this paper I examine how individual performance in a real work place is affected by a competitive environment and by its gender mix. The competition is among math, English and Language teachers who participated in a rank order tournament that rewarded teachers with large cash bonuses based on the test performance of their classes. The evidence suggest that the average ranking, winning rate and awarded prize did not differ by gender nor between teachers in competition groups with only female teachers or with both genders. I also find that the direct impact of the bonus program on students' outcomes did not vary by male and female teachers or by the type of competitive environment in terms of gender mix of the participants. As for mechanisms that can explain these results, I found no differences by either gender or by the gender mix of the competition group in teachers' awareness and familiarity with the program and its rules, and in effort and teaching methods. Women though were more pessimistic about the effectiveness of teachers' performance pay and more realistic than men about their likelihood of winning bonuses.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14338.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14338.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Publication status: published as Victor Lavy, 2013. "Gender Differences in Market Competitiveness in a Real Workplace: Evidence from Performance‐based Pay Tournaments among Teachers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(569), pages 540-573, 06.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14338
Note: ED LS
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  1. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101, 08.
  2. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
  3. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  4. Antonovics, Kate & Arcidiacono, Peter & Walsh, Randall, 2003. "Competing Against the Opposite Sex," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0kx2f7xq, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  5. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2008. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence from a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," NBER Working Papers 13727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  8. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Daniel W. & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 3134, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Paserman, M. Daniele, 2007. "Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players," IZA Discussion Papers 2834, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
  11. John List & Steven Levitt, 2007. "Viewpoint: On the generalizability of lab behaviour to the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00001, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  13. Kate Antonovics & Peter Arcidiacono & Randall Walsh, 2009. "The Effects of Gender Interactions in the Lab and in the Field," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 152-162, February.
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