Experimental Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 154–172

Gender and competition in adolescence: task matters

Article

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, beliefs about relative performance, and risk preferences, or for beliefs only. Girls are also more altruistic and less risk taking than boys.

Keywords

Competitiveness Risk preferences Altruism Adolescents Gender differences Experiment 

JEL Classification

C91 D03 J16 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsStockholm School of EconomicsStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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