Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 730: Gender differences in competitiveness and risk taking: comparing children in Colombia and Sweden

Juan-Camilo Cárdenas (), Anna Dreber (), Emma von Essen () and Eva Ranehill ()
Additional contact information
Juan-Camilo Cárdenas: Department of Economics, Universidad de los Andes
Anna Dreber: Institute for Financial Research (SIFR)
Emma von Essen: Department of Economics, Stockholm University
Eva Ranehill: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics

Abstract: We explore gender differences in preferences for competition and risk among children aged 9-12 in Colombia and Sweden, two countries differing in gender equality according to macro indices. We include four types of tasks that vary in gender stereotyping when looking at competitiveness: running, skipping rope, math and word search. We find that boys and girls are equally competitive in all tasks and all measures in Colombia. Unlike the consistent results in Colombia, the results in Sweden are mixed, with some indication of girls being more competitive than boys in some tasks in terms of performance change, whereas boys are more likely to choose to compete in general. Boys in both countries are more risk taking than girls, with a smaller gender gap in Sweden.

Keywords: competitiveness; risk preferences; children; gender differences; experiment

JEL-codes: C91; D03; J16

45 pages, First version: November 2, 2010. Revised: June 3, 2011.

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