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The State Street Mile: Age and Gender Differences in Competition-Aversion in the Field

Rodney Garratt (), Catherine Weinberger and Nicholas Johnson

University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series from Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara

Abstract: Gender differences in “competitiveness,” previously documented in laboratory experiments, are hypothesized to play a role in a wide array of economic outcomes. The current paper provides evidence of competition-aversion in a natural setting somewhere between the simplicity of a laboratory experiment and the full complexity and ambiguity of a labor market. The “State Street Mile” race offers both male and female participants a choice between two different levels of competition. Large, systematic age and gender differences are observed in the relationship between true ability and the decision to enter the more competitive race. Overall, qualified women and older runners are far less likely than qualified young men to enter a competitive race with cash prizes. However, the fastest young women unanimously enter the competitive race. Therefore, while we confirm age and gender differences in competitiveness in our field setting, the economic consequences to capable young women are rather small.

Keywords: competition-aversion; age; gender (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-03-02
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Related works:
Journal Article: THE STATE STREET MILE: AGE AND GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COMPETITION AVERSION IN THE FIELD (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: The State Street Mile: Age and Gender Differences in Competition-Aversion in the Field (2009) Downloads
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