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Can gender differences in distributional preferences explain gender gaps in competition?

Utteeyo Dasgupta, Subha Mani, Smriti Sharma and Saurabh Singhal ()

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2019, vol. 70, issue C, 1-11

Abstract: We design a lab experiment to specifically examine whether a preference for favorable inequality and behindness aversion, as well as egalitarian preferences, affect competitive choices differently among males and females. Using data on approximately 2,000 subjects, we find that selection into competitive environments is negatively related to egalitarian preferences, with smaller negative impacts of being egalitarian on females’ choice to compete. Further, behindness aversion and preference for favorable inequality affect willingness to compete in opposite ways. The willingness to compete is negatively affected by behindness aversion, while a preference for favorable inequality positively influences willingness to compete. Interestingly, when we disaggregate behavior along gender lines, we find that compared to behindness averse males, behindness averse females are more likely to enter the competitive environment. In contrast, there is no significant gender difference in the impact of preference for favorable inequality on competition. Our results suggest that the observed gender difference in competitiveness can stem from male-female differences in distributional preferences and selected personality traits developed during one’s lifetime.

Keywords: Competitiveness; Distributional Preferences; Gender Differences; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D63 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: Can Gender Differences in Distributional Preferences Explain Gender Gaps in Competition? (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Can gender differences in distributional preferences explain gender gaps in competition? (2017) Downloads
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