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Do Women give up Competing more easily? Evidence from the Lab and the Dutch Math Olympiad

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Buser

    (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Huaiping Yuan

    (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Abstract

We conduct three lab experiments and use field data from the Dutch Math Olympiad to study how the gender gap in willingness to compete evolves in response to experience. The main result is that women are more likely than men to stop competing if they lose. In the Dutch Math Olympiad, this means that girls who do not make the top 1000, and therefore do not advance to the next round, are less likely to compete again one year later while there is no effect on boys. In an additional experiment, we show that men are more likely than women to start and keep competing after receiving positive feedback. In a third experiment, we show that the gender difference in the reaction to losing is not present when winning and losing are random rather than the outcome of competition. The fact that women are more likely to give up competing after a setback may help to explain why fewer women make it to the top in business and academia.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Buser & Huaiping Yuan, 2016. "Do Women give up Competing more easily? Evidence from the Lab and the Dutch Math Olympiad," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-096/I, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20160096
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Buser & Noemi Peter & Stefan Wolter, 2017. "Gender, willingness to compete and career choices along the whole ability distribution," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0135, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    2. Jeworrek, Sabrina, 2019. "Gender stereotypes still in MIND: Information on relative performance and competition entry," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    3. Fischer, Mira & Wagner, Valentin, 2018. "Effects of timing and reference frame of feedback: Evidence from a field experiment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2018-206, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    4. Fischer, Mira & Wagner, Valentin, 2019. "Effects of Timing and Reference Frame of Feedback," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 150, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    willingness to compete; gender; feedback; career decisions; laboratory experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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