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Choices About Competition: Differences by gender and hormonal fluctuations, and the role of relative performance feedback.

Wozniak, David (2009): Choices About Competition: Differences by gender and hormonal fluctuations, and the role of relative performance feedback.

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Abstract

Economic experiments have shown that when given the choice between piece-rate and winner-take-all tournament style compensation, women are more reluctant than men to choose tournaments. These gender difference experiments have all relied on a similar framework where subjects were not informed of their relative abilities as compared to other potential competitors. I replicate these previous findings and then I show that giving feedback about past relative performance moves high ability females towards more competitive compensation schemes, moves low ability men towards less competitive compensation schemes such as piece-rate and group pay, and removes the gender difference in compensation choices. I then examine between and within-subjects differences in choices for females, across the menstrual cycle. I find that, before receiving relative performance feedback, women in the low-hormone phase of their cycle are less likely to enter tournaments than women in the high-hormone phase. Men are more likely to choose tournaments than females at either stage. There are no significant selection differences between any of these groups after they receive relative performance feedback.

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