How Stress Affects Performance and Competitiveness across Gender

71 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2017 Last revised: 10 Apr 2017

See all articles by Jana Cahlikova

Jana Cahlikova

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance; Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute)

Lubomir Cingl

University of Economics, Prague

Ian Levely

Wageningen University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 13, 2017

Abstract

Since many key career events, such as exams and interviews, involve competition and stress, gender differences in response to these factors could help to explain the labor-market gender gaps. In a laboratory experiment, we manipulate psychosocial stress using the Trier Social Stress Test, and confirm that this is effective by measuring salivary cortisol. Subjects perform a real-effort task under both tournament and piece-rate incentives and we elicit willingness to compete. We find that women under heightened stress do worse than women in the control group when compensated with tournament incentives, while there is no treatment difference for performance under piece-rate incentives. For males, stress does not affect output under competition. We also find that stress decreases willingness to compete overall, and for women, this is related to performance. These results help to explain previous findings on gender differences in performance under competition both in and out of the lab.

Keywords: competitiveness, performance in tournaments, psychosocial stress, gender gap

JEL Classification: C91, D03, J16, J33

Suggested Citation

Cahlikova, Jana and Cingl, Lubomir and Levely, Ian, How Stress Affects Performance and Competitiveness across Gender (March 13, 2017). Working Paper of the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance No. 2017-1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2932023 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2932023

Jana Cahlikova (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.janacahlikova.net

Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute) ( email )

P.O. Box 882
7 Politickych veznu
Prague 1, 111 21
Czech Republic

Lubomir Cingl

University of Economics, Prague ( email )

nam. W.Churchilla 4
Prague 3, 130 67
Czech Republic

Ian Levely

Wageningen University ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.IanLevely.com

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