The Emergence of Male Leadership in Competitive Environments

17 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2010

See all articles by Ernesto Reuben

Ernesto Reuben

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Pedro Rey-Biel

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Paola Sapienza

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Abstract

We present evidence from an experiment in which groups select a leader to compete against the leaders of other groups in a real-effort task that they have all performed in the past. We find that women are selected much less often as leaders than is suggested by their individual past performance. We study three potential explanations for the underrepresentation of women, namely, gender differences in overconfidence concerning past performance, in the willingness to exaggerate past performance to the group, and in the reaction to monetary incentives. We find that men’s overconfidence is the driving force behind the observed prevalence of male representation.

Keywords: discrimination, gender gap, glass ceiling, overconfidence, leadership

JEL Classification: J71, D03, C92

Suggested Citation

Reuben, Ernesto and Rey-Biel, Pedro and Sapienza, Paola and Zingales, Luigi, The Emergence of Male Leadership in Competitive Environments. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5300, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1708746

Ernesto Reuben (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Pedro Rey-Biel

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Plaça Cívica
Cerdañola del Valles
Barcelona, Barcelona 08193
Spain

Paola Sapienza

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management - Department of Finance ( email )

Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-7436 (Phone)
847-491-5719 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-3196 (Phone)
773-834-2081 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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