Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck

30 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2010

See all articles by David Gill

David Gill

Purdue University, Department of Economics

Victoria L. Prowse

Purdue University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

We present experimental evidence which sheds new light on why women may be less competitive than men. Specifically, we observe striking differences in how men and women respond to good and bad luck in a competitive environment. Following a loss, women tend to reduce effort, and the effect is independent of the monetary value of the prize that the women failed to win. Men, on the other hand, reduce effort only after failing to win large prizes. Responses to previous competitive outcomes explain about 11% of the variation that we observe in women's efforts, but only about 4% of the variation in the effort of men, and differential responses to luck account for about half of the gender performance gap in our experiment. These findings help to explain both female underperformance in environments with repeated competition and the tendency for women to select into tournaments at a lower rate than men.

Keywords: behavioral preferences, real effort experiment, gender differences, gender gap, competition, competition aversion, tournament, luck, win, loss, narrow framing

JEL Classification: C91, D03, J16

Suggested Citation

Gill, David and Prowse, Victoria L., Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1634489

David Gill (Contact Author)

Purdue University, Department of Economics ( email )

610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

Victoria L. Prowse

Purdue University - Department of Economics ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
57
Abstract Views
595
rank
191,894
PlumX Metrics