Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

No 694: How long do you think it will take? Field Evidence on Gender Differences in Time Optimism

Mitesh Kataria ()
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Mitesh Kataria: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: P.O. Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG, Gothenburg

Abstract: Evidence from ten natural field studies comparing long-distance runners' incentivized predictions of race finishing time with their actual finishing time is reported. A modest but regular bias is found. Male runners are consistently found to be more time optimistic than female runners and finish slower than they predict to finish. Males are found to over-appreciate their physical fitness. To the extent this behaviour carries over to other contexts, such as the labor market, the tendency of men to overestimate their capacity could lead to distorted self-appraisals and give them advantages in terms of higher salaries and better positions.

Keywords: Overconfidence; Time optimism; Gender differences

JEL-codes: C93; D01; D03

44 pages, February 2017

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