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Gender Differences in Competitive and Non Competitive Environments: An Experimental Evidence

  • David Masclet

    (University of Rennes1 - CREM UMR CNRS 6211, France and CIRANO, Montréal, Canada)

  • Emmanuel Peterle

    (University of Rennes 1 - CREM UMR CNRS 6211, France)

  • Sophie Larribeau

    (University of Rennes 1 - CREM UMR CNRS 6211, France)

We present a new experimental design that permits us to explore gender differences in both performance and compensation choice. We design a game in which participants are asked to choose between a flat wage and a tournament scheme and to perform under each scheme. Our data indicate that men and women of similar ability differ in both performance and compensation choice. Men are more likely to choose a tournament than a flat wage scheme. These findings reflect both higher women (men)‟s concerns for equality (competitive preferences) and stronger men‟s overconfidence. Our data also indicate significant gender differences in effort provision. Men increase significantly more their effort than women when moving from a flat wage to a tournament. More surprisingly, our data show that women provide significantly more effort than men under a flat wage scheme despite the absence of any penalty for shirking and the fastidious and boring dimension of the task. This gender gap remains highly significant after controlling for several individual and social preferences. As such, we believe that an interpretation in terms of gender differences in intrinsic motivation is the most consistent with all of our experimental findings.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS in its series Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) with number 201236.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:tut:cremwp:201236
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