Are Females Scared of Competing with Males? Results from a Field Experiment

22 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2013

See all articles by Maria De Paola

Maria De Paola

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Francesca Gioia

Università degli Studi della Calabria

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Abstract

We conducted a field experiment involving 720 Italian undergraduate students to investigate the existence of gender differences in performance in competitive settings and whether performance is affected by one's opponent gender. The experimental design was aimed at disentangling gender differences in taste for competition from other differences in psychological attitudes, such as self-confidence and risk aversion. Students were invited to undertake a midterm exam under a tournament scheme having as a prize some bonus points to add to the final grade. Students competed in pairs of equal predicted ability but different gender composition. We find that females are as likely as males to take part in the competition and to obtain a good performance. The gender of one's competitor does not play any role in shaping students' behavior. Men and women perform similarly both in the competitive and in the non-competitive environment.

Keywords: gender differences, attitude toward competition, psychological differences, tournaments, field experiment, student achievements

JEL Classification: J16, J24, J70, C93

Suggested Citation

De Paola, Maria and Gioia, Francesca and Scoppa, Vincenzo, Are Females Scared of Competing with Males? Results from a Field Experiment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7799. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2367674

Maria De Paola (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

Francesca Gioia

Università degli Studi della Calabria

Ponte Bucci, Cubo 3C
Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

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