Brave Boys and Play-it-Safe Girls: Gender Differences in Willingness to Guess in a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment

50 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2019

See all articles by Nagore Iriberri

Nagore Iriberri

Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU)

Pedro Rey-Biel

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Date Written: February 2019

Abstract

We study gender differences in willingness to guess using approximately 10,000 multiple-choice math tests, where for half of the questions, both wrong answers and omitted questions are scored 0, and for the other half, wrong answers are scored 0 but omitted questions are scored +1. Using a within-participant regression analysis, we find that female participants leave significantly more omitted questions than males when there is a reward for omitted questions. This gender difference, which is stronger among high ability and older participants, hurts female performance as measured by the final score and position in the ranking. In a subsequent survey, female participants showed lower levels of confidence and higher risk aversion, which may explain this differential behavior. When both are considered, risk aversion is the main factor explaining the gender differential in the willingness to guess. A scoring rule that is gender neutral must use non-differential scoring between wrong answers and omitted questions.

Keywords: confidence, gender differences, natural field experiment, perceived ability in math, risk preferences, willingness to guess

JEL Classification: C93, D81, I20, J16

Suggested Citation

Iriberri, Nagore and Rey-Biel, Pedro, Brave Boys and Play-it-Safe Girls: Gender Differences in Willingness to Guess in a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment (February 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13541. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3341348

Nagore Iriberri (Contact Author)

Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU) ( 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

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
54
PlumX Metrics