Gender and Competitiveness when Earning for Others: Experimental Evidence and Implications for Sponsorship
44 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2020 Last revised: 14 Jan 2022
Date Written: April 26, 2021
Men tend to be more competitive than women, with profound career consequences. However, career paths also depend on the competitiveness of individuals that advocate on their behalf. In this paper we study competitiveness when rewards accrue to another individual. In particular, we ask how female and male managers’ competitiveness changes when rewards from competition accrue to their protégés relative to when they accrue to themselves, and when the protégé is a woman or a man. Using an experimental approach, we find that when rewards accrue to protégés, female managers increase their competitiveness. However, male managers compete more for male rather than female protégés. This gap disappears when male managers know their protégés’ risk preferences suggesting a novel intervention to ensure equity in the sponsorship process.
Keywords: Gender, competitiveness, preferences for competition, hierarchy, other-regarding preferences, homophily, experimental methods
JEL Classification: J16, C91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation