Explaining Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Testing a Theory on Gender-Task Stereotypes
35 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2015 Last revised: 21 Nov 2017
Date Written: October 1, 2014
We examine an explanation for differences of self selection into competitive environments between men and women: gender-task stereotypes. Via data from a laboratory and a framed field experiment we test a recent model on stereotyping. Therefore, we contrast genders’ competitiveness between three tasks, two of which are male-connotated and one of which is not strongly associated with gender. An indirect test ensures that our quantitative and our sports task are stereotypically male, while for the verbal task concerning gender performance are absent. Controlling for potential confounds, we find that women self-select significantly less into competition against men only such tasks which are stereotypically male. In addition, we show that these stereotypes not only have consequences for the self selection into payment regimes, but also, for instance, for the selection of partners under the examined payment regimes. Overall, our results imply that the existence of gender connotations of tasks triggers significant gender effects with respect to different dimensions such as competitiveness, performance or partner choice. In particular, our experimental analysis strongly supports the underlying theory on stereotypes.
Keywords: Competition, piece rate, revenue sharing, gender-task stereotype, experiment
JEL Classification: C91, J16, J24, M52, D81
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