Journal of the Economic Science Association

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 121–136 | Cite as

Emirati women do not shy away from competition: evidence from a patriarchal society in transition

  • Aurelie Dariel
  • Curtis Kephart
  • Nikos NikiforakisEmail author
  • Christina Zenker
Original Paper


We explore gender attitudes towards competition in the United Arab Emirates—a traditionally patriarchal society which in recent times has adopted numerous policies to empower women and promote their role in the labor force. The experimental treatments vary whether individuals compete in single-sex or mixed-sex groups. In contrast to previous studies, women in our sample are not less willing to compete than men. In fact, once we control for individual performance, Emirati women are more likely to select into competition. Our analysis shows that neither women nor men shy away from competition, and both compete more than what would be optimal in monetary terms as the fraction of men in their group increases. We offer a detailed survey of the literature and discuss possible reasons for the lack of gender differences in our experiment.


Gender Competition Culture Institutions 

JEL Classification

C70 C91 J16 J24 J31 M52 

Supplementary material

40881_2017_45_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Social ScienceNew York University Abu DhabiAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.College of BusinessZayed UniversityAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates

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