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Women and Motivation to Compete: The Role of Advantages

Beatrice Braut ()
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Beatrice Braut: University of Turin,

Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers from University of Turin

Abstract: This work investigates the stability of the gender gap in competitiveness and tests a possible mechanism that influences it. Subjects play bargaining games where the two roles differ by decision contest - one has an advantageous position - and by the extreme values of their possible payment - the more advantaged can earn more. For all the experiment subjects are randomly assigned to be in the advantaged role or not. Competition takes place between subjects who are in the same role and it is based on their payoff in the bargaining. By comparing competitive behaviour of subjects assigned to the advantaged role or not, the experiment identifies the effect of having advantages, given the remaining factors. The main result is that when in the advantaged position, behaviour is more rational and does not differ by gender, while when not the gender gap in competitiveness exists and it causes inefficiencies. Giving an advantageous role makes men with low performances in the game competing less and women with high performances doing it more, closing down the total gender gap. This finding helps to explain the competitiveness gap and provides insights on which are the characteristics of the context that make competition detrimental for gender parity and also for efficiency.

Pages: pages 42
Date: 2021-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-gen and nep-gth
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