Competitiveness, Gender and Handedness: A Large-Sample Intercultural Study

26 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2020

See all articles by Thomas Buser

Thomas Buser

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

Alexander W. Cappelen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Uri Gneezy

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Moshe Hoffman

Harvard University - Program for Evolutionary Dynamics

Bertil Tungodden

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 16, 2020

Abstract

We conduct a large-scale intercultural experiment to elicit competitiveness and ask whether individual and gender differences in competitiveness are partially determined by nature. We use being a “lefty” (i.e., having either a dominant left hand or a dominant left foot) as a proxy for nature, as it is associated with neurological differences which are determined prenatally and reflects a masculinized neurology. That way we use handedness and footedness as a proxy for innate differences. In large-scale data with incentivized choices from 3683 participants from India, Norway and Tanzania, we find a significant gender gap in competitiveness in all cultures. However, we find inconsistent results when comparing the competitiveness of lefties and righties. In northeast India we find that lefties of both genders are significantly more competitive than righties. In Norway we find that lefty men are more competitive than any other group, but women’s competitiveness is not related to handedness or footedness. In Tanzania, we find no effect of handedness or footedness on the competitiveness of either gender. The merged data show weak evidence of a positive correlation between being a lefty and competitiveness for men, but no such evidence for women. Thus, our data do not provide robust evidence that gender differences in competitiveness are partially determined by nature, where nature is represented by the complex, physiologically-rooted phenomenon of handedness.

Suggested Citation

Buser, Thomas and Cappelen, Alexander W. and Gneezy, Uri and Hoffman, Moshe and Tungodden, Bertil, Competitiveness, Gender and Handedness: A Large-Sample Intercultural Study (January 16, 2020). NHH Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 02/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3520602 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3520602

Thomas Buser

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, North Holland 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/thomasbuser/

Alexander W. Cappelen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Uri Gneezy

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Moshe Hoffman

Harvard University - Program for Evolutionary Dynamics ( email )

One Brattle Square, Suite 6
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bertil Tungodden (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

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