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Do Women shy away from Competition?

Lise Vesterlund () and Muriel Niederle ()

No 652, Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings from Econometric Society

Abstract: Despite sustained efforts of equal opportunities for men and women, large gender differences prevail in competitive high ranking positions. Possible explanations include discrimination, differences in human capital and preferences, which overall may make women less effective in competitive environments. In this paper we explore whether men and women have different preferences concerning self selection into competitive environments. In a laboratory experiment, we observe that women select less into a competitive environment than men, even for a task in which men and women perform equally under a competitive scheme and a piece rate. This effect is stronger when women have to compete against men than in single-sex environments: this suggests that highly qualified women do select into highly competitive environments, just less so when they have to compete against men.

Keywords: Experiments; discrimination (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C9 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004-08-11
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