An Economic Model of the Evolution of the Gender Performance Ratio in Individual Sports
Reims Management School (RMS); Maastricht School of Management (MSM); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4838
This paper shows that the gender world record ratio in four disciplines, i.e. marathon, triple jump, pole vault and 800 meters, follows an S-shape over time. It is argued that this pattern is initiated by a sudden drop in the social barrier for women to participate in these disciplines. This drop in social barrier materializes ﾖ later ﾖ by the authorization for women to participate at major events, such as the Olympic Games, in these disciplines. The paper builds a simple economic model of sector self-selection and human capital accumulation with intrinsic disutility (social barriers) to participate in some sectors. As social barriers are removed in a sector, the Gender Performance Ratio is shown to follow an S-shape over time under very basic assumptions and calibrations. Ability self-selection, measured as the difference between mean ability of women in that sector and population mean, becomes more positive after removal of the social barrier.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: gender performance ratio, sector self-selection, human capital investments
JEL Classification: J16, J7, N32working papers series
Date posted: March 22, 2010
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