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Let's (not) talk about sex: The effect of information provision on gender differences in performance under competition

  • Nagore Iriberri
  • Pedro Rey-Biel

We study how gender differences in performance under competition are affected by the provision of information regarding rival’s gender and/or differences in relative ability. In a laboratory experiment, we use two tasks that differ regarding perceptions about which gender outperforms the other. We observe women’s underperformance only under two conditions: 1) tasks are perceived as favoring men and 2) rivals’ gender is explicitly mentioned. This result can be explained by stereotype-threat being reinforced when explicitly mentioning gender in tasks in which women already consider they are inferior. Omitting information about gender is a safe alternative to avoid women’s underperformance in competition.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1288.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1288
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Cason, Timothy & Masters, William & Sheremeta, Roman, 2010. "Entry into Winner-Take-All and Proportional-Prize Contests: An Experimental Study," MPRA Paper 49886, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Matthias Sutter & Daniela R?tzler, 2010. "Gender differences in competition emerge early in life," Working Papers 2010-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  3. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2009. "Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 709, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 16 Oct 2009.
  4. 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.
  5. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria L., 2010. "Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck," IZA Discussion Papers 5022, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Choosing to compete: How different are girls and boys?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 542-555.
  7. 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.
  8. Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2012. "Gender differences in competitiveness and risk taking: Comparing children in Colombia and Sweden," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 11-23.
  9. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender matching and competitiveness: experimental evidence," Post-Print halshs-00661770, HAL.
  10. Niels D. Grosse & Gerhard Riener, 2010. "Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Gender-Task Stereotypes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  11. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender Matching And Competitiveness: Experimental Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 816-835, 01.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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