Competitive Pressure Widens the Gender Gap in Performance: Evidence from a Two-Stage Competition in Mathematics

26 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2016

See all articles by Nagore Iriberri

Nagore Iriberri

University of the Basque Country

Pedro Rey-Biel

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Date Written: September 2016

Abstract

In two-stage elimination math contests participants from four different age groups compete to pass from stage 1 to stage 2 and later to be among the winners. Although female participants have higher Math grades at school the gender gap reverses in the two stages of the contests. More importantly, following the same individual participant across different stages, we find that the gender gap in performance increases from stage 1 to stage 2 of the competition. The increase in female underperformance is attributed to higher competitive pressure and alternative explanations based on selection, discrimination and differences in reaction to increasing difficulty are ruled out.

Suggested Citation

Iriberri, Nagore and Rey-Biel, Pedro, Competitive Pressure Widens the Gender Gap in Performance: Evidence from a Two-Stage Competition in Mathematics (September 2016). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11493, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2837705

Nagore Iriberri (Contact Author)

University of the Basque Country ( email )

Barrio Sarriena s/n
Leioa, Bizkaia 48940
Spain

Pedro Rey-Biel

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Plaça Cívica
Cerdañola del Valles
Barcelona, Barcelona 08193
Spain

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