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Social Information and Gender Differences in Competitive Preferences

Christopher Roby

The American Economist, 2022, vol. 67, issue 1, 24-45

Abstract: This is an exploratory study that examines the effect of social information on gender differences in selection into a winner-take-all tournament, using a simple addition task. Participants perform this task in multiple rounds and then select into a competitive or non-competitive pay scheme. Prior to choosing payment schemes, participants are shown selected results about average performance and choices in a similar experiment. I find that the inclusion of social information eliminates any extant gender gap in competitive choices in every treatment. The reduction in the gender gap is not due to greater efficiency of choices by men or women, even though inefficient choices by low-performing individuals are mostly eliminated. Rather, the inclusion of feedback causes men and women to select into a competitive pay scheme in a similar manner, thereby removing the gender gap. Despite these results, the complexity of the social information intervention used leaves some results unexplained. JEL Classifications : C9, J2, J16.

Keywords: Experiments; labor economics; social information; decision making (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1177/05694345211054212

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