Willingness to Compete: Family Matters

44 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2014

See all articles by Ingvild Almås

Ingvild Almås

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES)

Alexander W. Cappelen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Erik Sorensen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Bertil Tungodden

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 24, 2014

Abstract

This paper studies the role of family background in explaining differences in the willingness to compete. By combining data from a lab experiment conducted with a representative sample of adolescents in Norway and high quality register data on family background, we show that family background is fundamental in two important ways. First, boys from low socioeconomic status families are less willing to compete than boys from better off families, even when controlling for confidence, performance, risk preferences, time preferences, social preferences, and psychological traits. Second, family background is crucial for understanding the large gender difference in the willingness to compete. Girls are much less willing to compete than boys among children from better off families, whereas we do not find any gender difference in willingness to compete among children from low socioeconomic status families. Our data suggest that the main mechanism explaining the role of family background is that the father’s socioeconomic status has a large effect on the boys’ willingness to compete, but no effect on the girls. We do not find any effect on the willingness to compete for boys or girls of the mother’s socioeconomic status or other family characteristic that may potentially shape competition preferences, including parental equality and sibling rivalry.

Suggested Citation

Almås, Ingvild and Cappelen, Alexander W. and Salvanes, Kjell G. and Sorensen, Erik and Tungodden, Bertil, Willingness to Compete: Family Matters (January 24, 2014). NHH Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 03/2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2382592 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2382592

Ingvild Almås

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden

Alexander W. Cappelen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway
+47 5 595 9315 (Phone)
+47 5 595 9543 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Erik Sorensen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

Bertil Tungodden (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
155
Abstract Views
1,191
rank
197,266
PlumX Metrics