Gender Differences in Repeated Competition: Evidence from School Math Contests

Posted: 5 Jun 2013

See all articles by Christopher Cotton

Christopher Cotton

Queen's University, Department of Economics

Frank McIntyre

Amazon.com

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University

Date Written: February 1, 2013

Abstract

The literature shows that males react more favorably than females to competitive incentives. This well known result, however, is based on experiments in which participants engage in only a one-shot contest. We conduct a series of math contests in elementary schools which are similar to past experiments except for one notable exception: subjects compete in five sequential contests, rather than a one-shot contest typically used. Although males outperform females in the first period contest, we find no evidence of a male advantage in subsequent periods. Females even outperform males in later periods. The data suggests that the relative overperformance of low-ability males and the underperformance of high-ability females are primarily responsible for the first period results. Additionally, even the first period male advantage disappears when we reduce the time pressure or change the task at hand.

Keywords: Competitiveness, Gender differences, Field experiment

JEL Classification: J16, J24, J78

Suggested Citation

Cotton, Christopher and McIntyre, Frank and Price, Joseph, Gender Differences in Repeated Competition: Evidence from School Math Contests (February 1, 2013). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 86, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2274161

Christopher Cotton (Contact Author)

Queen's University, Department of Economics ( email )

Dunning Hall 230
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.christophercotton.ca

Frank McIntyre

Amazon.com ( email )

Seattle, WA 98144
United States

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University ( email )

130 FOB
Provo, UT 84604
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://economics.byu.edu/directory/joseph-p-price

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