Can Gender Differences in Distributional Preferences Explain Gender Gaps in Competition?

Dasgupta, Utteeyo and Mani, Subha and Sharma, Smriti and Singhal, Saurabh (2019) Can Gender Differences in Distributional Preferences Explain Gender Gaps in Competition? Journal of Economic Psychology, 70. ISSN 0167-4870

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We design a lab experiment to specifically examine whether a preference for favorable inequality and behindness aversion, as well as egalitarian preferences, affect competitive choices differently among males and females. Using data on approximately 2,000 subjects, we find that selection into competitive environments is negatively related to egalitarian preferences, with smaller negative impacts of being egalitarian on females’ choice to compete. Further, behindness aversion and preference for favorable inequality affect willingness to compete in opposite ways. The willingness to compete is negatively affected by behindness aversion, while a preference for favorable inequality positively influences willingness to compete. Interestingly, when we disaggregate behavior along gender lines, we find that compared to behindness averse males, behindness averse females are more likely to enter the competitive environment. In contrast, there is no significant gender difference in the impact of preference for favorable inequality on competition. Our results suggest that the observed gender difference in competitiveness can stem from male-female differences in distributional preferences and selected personality traits developed during one’s lifetime.

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Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Economic Psychology
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Economic Psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Economic Psychology, ?, ?, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2018.10.013
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Deposited On:
04 Dec 2018 09:20
Last Modified:
30 Oct 2023 00:51