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Gender differences and dynamics in competition: the role of luck

  • Gill, David
  • Prowse, Victoria

In a real effort experiment with repeated competition we find striking differences in how the work effort of men and women responds to previous wins and losses. For women losing per se is detrimental to productivity, but for men a loss impacts negatively on productivity only when the prize at stake is big enough. Responses to luck are more persistent and explain more of the variation in behavior for women, and account for about half of the gender performance gap in our experiment. Our findings shed new light on why women may be less inclined to pursue competition-intensive careers.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38220.

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Date of creation: 24 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38220
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  1. Gary Charness & Peter J. Kuhn, 2010. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," NBER Working Papers 15913, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Cason, Timothy N. & Masters, William A. & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2010. "Entry into winner-take-all and proportional-prize contests: An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 604-611, October.
  3. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
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