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Department of Economics, Stockholm University Research Papers in Economics, Department of Economics, Stockholm University

No 2011:14:
Gender and Competition in Adolescence: Task Matter

Anna Dreber (), Emma von Essen () and Eva Ranehill ()

Abstract: We look at gender differences among adolescents in Sweden in preferences for competition, altruism and risk. For competitiveness, we explore two different tasks that differ in associated stereotypes. We find no gender difference in competitiveness when comparing performance under competition to that without competition. We further find that boys and girls are equally likely to self-select into competition in a verbal task, but that boys are significantly more likely to choose to compete in a mathematical task. This gender gap diminishes and becomes non-significant when we control for actual performance and beliefs about relative performance. These results show that among adolescents in our sample, the gender gap in competitiveness is not due to preferences for competition per se. Girls are also more altruistic and less risk taking than boys.

Keywords: Competitiveness; risk preferences; altruism; adolescents; gender differences; experiment; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C91; D03; J16; (follow links to similar papers)

18 pages, April 11, 2011, Revised March 8, 2013

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