Experimental Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 642–662 | Cite as

Pricing competition: a new laboratory measure of gender differences in the willingness to compete

  • John Ifcher
  • Homa ZarghameeEmail author
Original Paper


Experiments have demonstrated that men are more willing to compete than women. We develop a new instrument to “price” willingness to compete. We find that men value a $2.00 winner-take-all payment significantly more (about $0.28 more) than women; and that women require a premium (about 40 %) to compete. Our new instrument is more sensitive than the traditional binary-choice instrument, and thus, enables us to identify relationships that are not identifiable using the traditional binary-choice instrument. We find that subjects who are the most willing to compete have high ability, higher GPA’s (men), and take more STEM courses (women).


Willingness-to-compete Competitiveness Gender differences Relative payoff Piece-rate equivalents 

JEL Classification

C91 J16 J24 



We wish to thank seminar participants at Claremont Graduate University and Loyola Marymount University for their helpful comments. Lara Moulton and Marianne Farag provided excellent research assistance. Financial support from the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University is gratefully acknowledged. Muriel Niederle and Lise Vesterlund were kind enough to share their z-Tree program with us. The authors contributed equally to this work.

Supplementary material

10683_2015_9458_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (318 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 318 kb)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Santa Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA
  2. 2.Barnard CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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