Gender Differences in Competition Emerge Early in Life

36 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2010

See all articles by Matthias Sutter

Matthias Sutter

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Cologne - Department of Economics

Daniela Rützler

University of Innsbruck

Abstract

We study gender differences in the willingness to compete in a large-scale experiment with 1,035 children and teenagers, aged three to eighteen years. Using an easy math task for children older than eight years and a running task for the younger ones we find that boys are much more likely to enter a tournament than girls across the whole age spectrum considered here. This gender gap is observed already with three-year olds, indicating that gender differences in competitiveness emerge very early in life. The gap is robust to controlling for gender differences in risk attitudes and overconfidence.

Keywords: competition, gender gap, experiment, children, teenagers

JEL Classification: C91, D03

Suggested Citation

Sutter, Matthias and Rützler, Daniela, Gender Differences in Competition Emerge Early in Life. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1631480

Matthias Sutter (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

University of Cologne - Department of Economics

Cologne, 50923
Germany

Daniela Rützler

University of Innsbruck ( email )

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