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Gender, competitiveness, and task difficulty: Evidence from the field

Britta Hoyer, Thomas van Huizen, Linda Keijzer, Sarah Rezaei, Stephanie Rosenkranz and Bastian Westbrock

Labour Economics, 2020, vol. 64, issue C

Abstract: This study examines the gender gap in competitiveness in an educational setting and tests whether this gap depends on the difficulty of the task at hand. For this purpose, we administered a series of experiments during the final exam of a university course. We confronted three cohorts of undergraduate students with a set of bonus questions and the choice between an absolute and a tournament grading scheme for these questions. To test the moderating impact of task difficulty, we (randomly) varied the difficulty of the questions between treatment groups. We find that, on average, women are significantly less likely to select the tournament scheme. However, the results show that the gender gap in tournament entry is sizable when the questions are relatively easy, but much smaller and statistically insignificant when the questions are difficult.

Keywords: Gender gap; Competitiveness; Task difficulty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C78 D47 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:labeco:v:64:y:2020:i:c:s092753712030021x

DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2020.101815

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