Can Personality Explain What is Underlying Women's Unwillingness to Compete?

Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 33, No. 3, 2012

University of Heidelberg Department of Economics Discussion Paper No. 511

23 Pages Posted: 11 May 2012

See all articles by Julia Müller

Julia Müller

University of Muenster - School of Business & Economics

Christiane Schwieren

Heidelberg University

Date Written: April 1, 2011

Abstract

There is ample evidence that women do not react to competition as men do and are less willing to enter a competition than men. In this paper, we use personality variables to understand the underlying motives of women (and men) to enter a competition or avoid it. We use the Big Five personality factors, where especially neuroticism has been related to performance in achievement settings. We first test whether scores on the Big Five are related to performance in our experiment, and second how this is related to incentives. We can show that the sex difference in the willingness to enter a competition is mediated by neuroticism and further that neuroticism is negatively related to performance in competiton. This raises the possibility that those women who do not choose competitive incentives “know” that they should not.

Keywords: Gender, Personality, Big Five, Five-factor model, Competition, Experiment

JEL Classification: C91, D03, J16

Suggested Citation

Müller, Julia and Schwieren, Christiane, Can Personality Explain What is Underlying Women's Unwillingness to Compete? (April 1, 2011). Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 33, No. 3, 2012, University of Heidelberg Department of Economics Discussion Paper No. 511, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2056403

Julia Müller

University of Muenster - School of Business & Economics ( email )

Scharnhorststr. 100
Muenster, D-48151
Germany

Christiane Schwieren (Contact Author)

Heidelberg University ( email )

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