Do Women Prefer a Co-Operative Work Environment?

GATE Working Paper No. 1127

60 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2011

See all articles by Peter Kuhn

Peter Kuhn

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Marie Claire Villeval

Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), CNRS; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Global Labor Organization (GLO)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 15, 2011

Abstract

Are women disproportionately attracted to work environments where cooperation rather than competition is rewarded? This paper reports the results of a real-effort experiment in which participants choose between an individual compensation scheme and a team-based payment scheme. We find that women are more likely than men to select team-based compensation in our baseline treatment, but women and men join teams with equal frequency when we add an efficiency advantage to team production. Using a simple structural discrete choice framework to reconcile these facts, we show that three elements can account for the observed patterns in the team-entry gender gap: a gender gap in confidence in others (i.e. women are less pessimistic about their prospective teammates’ relative ability), a greater responsiveness among men to instrumental reasons for joining teams, and a greater “pure” preference for working in a team environment among women.

Keywords: gender, cooperation, self-selection, confidence, experiment

JEL Classification: C91, J16, J24, J31, M5

Suggested Citation

Kuhn, Peter J. and Villeval, Marie Claire, Do Women Prefer a Co-Operative Work Environment? (October 15, 2011). GATE Working Paper No. 1127, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1946160 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1946160

Peter J. Kuhn (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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