Gender Differences in Competitiveness: Friends matter

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We run an experiment with Danish school children (7-16 years old) to shed new light on gender differences in
competitive behavior. Danish girls are not significantly less likely than boys to choose a competitive scheme
when we control for individual performance, risk preferences, confidence, stereotypes, and interactions with the
opposite gender. However, for the children who perform above average we find a gender gap of 11.8 percentage
points. Our elicitation of the network of friends allows us to study the association between a child’s and their
friends’ competitiveness: for each (extra) friend that is competitive, girls choose to compete more often (+9.6
percentage points). The same is not true for boys. Finally, boys become better at making the correct decision with
age, but girls avoid competition when they should choose it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Pages (from-to)20
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

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