Outrunning the Gender Gap - Boys and Girls Compete Equally

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance No 709

20 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2009 Last revised: 13 Feb 2011

See all articles by Anna Dreber

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Emma von Essen

University of Aarhus - Department of Economics and Business; Stockholm University - Department of Economics

Eva Ranehill

Stockholm School of Economics

Date Written: June 15, 2010

Abstract

Recent studies find that women are less competitive than men. This gender difference in competitiveness has been suggested as one possible explanation for why men occupy the majority of top positions in many sectors. In this study we explore competitiveness in children, with the premise that both context and gendered stereotypes regarding the task at hand may influence competitive behavior. A related field experiment on Israeli children shows that only boys react to competition by running faster when competing in a race. We here test if there is a gender gap in running among 7-10 year old Swedish children. We also introduce two female sports, skipping rope and dancing, to see if competitiveness is task dependent. We find no gender difference in reaction to competition in any task; boys and girls compete equally. Studies in different environments with different types of tasks are thus important in order to make generalizable claims about gender differences in competitiveness.

Keywords: competitiveness, gender differences, field experiment

JEL Classification: C93, D03, J16

Suggested Citation

Dreber, Anna and von Essen, Emma and Ranehill, Eva, Outrunning the Gender Gap - Boys and Girls Compete Equally (June 15, 2010). SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance No 709. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1499040 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1499040

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Emma Von Essen

University of Aarhus - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
DK-8000 Aarhus C, 8000
Denmark

Stockholm University - Department of Economics ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10 A
House A, floor 4 and 7
Frescati, Stockholm
Sweden

Eva Ranehill (Contact Author)

Stockholm School of Economics ( email )

PO Box 6501
Stockholm, 11383
Sweden

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