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Gender differences in willingness to compete: the role of public observability


Buser, Thomas; Ranehill, Eva; van Veldhuizen, Roel (2017). Gender differences in willingness to compete: the role of public observability. Working paper series / Department of Economics 257, University of Zurich.

Abstract

A recent literature emphasizes the importance of the gender gap in willingness to compete as a partial explanation for gender differences in labor market outcomes. However, whereas experiments investigating willingness to compete typically do so in anonymous environments, real world competitions often have a more public nature, which introduces potential social image concerns. If such image concerns are important, we should expect public observability to further exacerbate the gender gap. We test this prediction using a laboratory experiment that varies whether the decision to compete, and its outcome, is publicly observable. Across four different treatments, however, all treatment effects are close to zero. We conclude that the public observability of decisions and outcomes does not exert a gnificant impact on male or female willingness to compete, indicating that the role of social image concerns related to competitive decisions may be limited.

Abstract

A recent literature emphasizes the importance of the gender gap in willingness to compete as a partial explanation for gender differences in labor market outcomes. However, whereas experiments investigating willingness to compete typically do so in anonymous environments, real world competitions often have a more public nature, which introduces potential social image concerns. If such image concerns are important, we should expect public observability to further exacerbate the gender gap. We test this prediction using a laboratory experiment that varies whether the decision to compete, and its outcome, is publicly observable. Across four different treatments, however, all treatment effects are close to zero. We conclude that the public observability of decisions and outcomes does not exert a gnificant impact on male or female willingness to compete, indicating that the role of social image concerns related to competitive decisions may be limited.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:C91, D03, J16
Uncontrolled Keywords:Gender differences, competitiveness, social image, experiment
Language:English
Date:June 2017
Deposited On:03 Jul 2017 14:59
Last Modified:03 Jul 2017 15:09
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:18
ISSN:1664-7041
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp257.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php

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