The Impact of Role Models on Women's Self-Selection in Competitive Environments

56 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2017 Last revised: 3 Feb 2018

Kristina Meier

University of Mannheim - Department of Finance

Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi

University of Mannheim - Department of Finance

Stefan Ruenzi

University of Mannheim - Department of International Finance

Date Written: February 2018

Abstract

We show that female role models increase women's willingness to compete. As in Niederle and Vesterlund (2007), we find that women are less willing to enter a tournament than men, although there are no gender differences in performance. However, the gender gap in tournament entry disappears if subjects are exposed to a competitive female role model. Results are stronger for the best performing women who seem to be particularly encouraged by female role models. Female role models also mitigate gender stereotype threats and lead to higher self-confidence among women. By contrast, we find that competitive male role models seem to intimidate female subjects and increase the gender gap in tournament entry even further. Our results have implications for the socio-political debate on how the fraction of women in top management positions can be increased.

Keywords: Gender, Competition, Role Models

JEL Classification: J16, C9

Suggested Citation

Meier, Kristina and Niessen-Ruenzi, Alexandra and Ruenzi, Stefan, The Impact of Role Models on Women's Self-Selection in Competitive Environments (February 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3087862 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3087862

Kristina Meier (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Finance ( email )

L9, 1-2
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi

University of Mannheim - Department of Finance ( email )

Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Stefan Ruenzi

University of Mannheim - Department of International Finance ( email )

L9, 1-2
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

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