Tiger Women: An All-Pay Auction Experiment on the Gender Heuristic of the Desire to Win
Peking University - HSBC Business School
Zhuoqiong (Charlie) Chen
London School of Economics & Political Science
May 5, 2013
We tested whether maleness was a heuristic for higher “desire to win” (DTW) in “common value” all-pay auctions. To do this, we developed a theory to separate risk attitude and from valuation in willingness to pay to win in two player all-pay auctions with complete information and risk-averse bidders. In the experiment, we informed paired subjects of the opponent’s gender in FF, FM, MF and FF treatments and identified gender differences in DTW using the comparative statics of this theory. However, in five separate experiments, with nearly 600 subjects at undergraduate and graduate schools, we never confirmed our initial hypothesis. With the 400 subjects with whom we controlled for self-selection, we found that, instead, femaleness signaled higher DTW. Unlike prior auction experiments, in which women also bid higher than men, our design can distinguish between strategic high bidding from overbidding and demand effects. We provide initial evidence that women may be more competitive than men if ability, confidence in ability, risk attitude, self-selection and demand effects are controlled for.
The appendices for this paper are available at the following URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2141181.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: experiments, all-pay auction, overbidding, gender differences, heuristic, stereotype
JEL Classification: C91, D44, J16, I20
Date posted: December 30, 2011 ; Last revised: June 10, 2014
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