Gender differences in competition

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Recently, a growing body of research explores the effects of competition preferences on wages.This thesis attempts to review important studies which look into how competitiveness affecteducation and labor market outcomes. I start my thesis with traditional explanations for gender pay gap. In Section 2 I provide some facts to show gender differences in real outcomes in general. Section 3 discusses Gneezy et al. (2003) and Niederle and Vesterlund (2007), which pioneer this line of researches. Then I analyze possible affecting factors by using these two methods. Even though there is only one study which compares countries directly, to my knowledge, overall it’s much easier to detect gender differences for competition preferences in developed countries than in developing countries. This section is also designed to shed light on further cross-country comparison. Section 4 lists papers which try to use this emerging theory to explain gender differences in outcomes of education and labor market. The phenomenon that women are better educated but still shy away from STEM fields could be explained by competition preferences to some extent. Moreover, I put forward policy implications for education and labor market respectively. However, the two policy recommendations need to be treated with caution as empirical evidences, especially those about quota, seems not to support conclusion drawn from experimental results. Section 5 assesses the relative importance and unsolved issues of competition preferences, to shed light on future research. It’s inspiring that this psychological factor seems to play a role outside the lab, however compare with other factors such as occupation and industry, and considering key questions such as how preferences evolve remain to be determined further studies still have a long way to go. Section 6 concludes this master’s thesis by summarizing current achievements and pointing out possible improvement for later research.
Thesis advisor
Pekkarinen, Tuomas
gender, competition, education, labour market