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The Gender Gap Cracks Under Pressure: A Detailed Look at Male and Female Performance Differences During Competitions

  • Christopher Cotton
  • Frank McIntyre
  • Joseph Price

Using data from multiple-period math competitions, we show that males outperform females of similar ability during the first period. However, the male advantage is not found in any subsequent period of competition, or even after a two-week break from competition. Some evidence suggests that males may actually perform worse than females in later periods. The analysis considers various experimental treatments and finds that the existence of gender differences depends crucially on the design of the competition and the task at hand. Even when the male advantage does exist, it does not persist beyond the initial period of competition.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16436.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16436.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16436
Note: LS
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  1. Booth, Alison L. & Nolen, Patrick J., 2009. "Choosing to Compete: How Different Are Girls and Boys?," IZA Discussion Papers 4027, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Joseph Price, 2008. "Gender Differences in the Response to Competition," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(3), pages 320-333, April.
  3. Wozniak, David, 2009. "Choices About Competition: Differences by gender and hormonal fluctuations, and the role of relative performance feedback," MPRA Paper 21097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Joensen, Juanna Schrøter & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2006. "Is there a Causal Effect of High School Math on Labor Market Outcomes?," IZA Discussion Papers 2357, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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.
  6. Günther, Christina & Ekinci, Neslihan Arslan & Schwieren, Christiane & Strobel, Martin, 2010. "Women can't jump?--An experiment on competitive attitudes and stereotype threat," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 395-401, September.
  7. Kristin Kleinjans, 2008. "Do Gender Differences in Preferences for Competition Matter for Occupational Expectations?," Economics Working Papers 2008-09, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  8. 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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