Monday, July 22, 2013

Paper: Performance Gender Gap: Does Competition Matter

Performance Gender Gap: Does Competition Matter?
Evren Ors, Frédéric Palomino, and Eloïc Peyrache
Journal of Labor Economics
Vol. 31, No. 3 (July 2013) (pp. 443-499)

Using data for students undertaking a series of real-world academic examinations with high future payoffs, we examine whether the differences in these evaluations’ competitive nature generate a performance gender gap. In the univariate setting we find that women’s performance is first-order stochastically dominated by that of men when the competition is higher, whereas the reverse holds true in the less competitive or noncompetitive tests. These results are confirmed in the multivariate setting. Our findings, from a real-world setting with important payoffs at stake, are in line with the evidence from experimental research that finds that females tend to perform worse in more competitive contexts.

This is one of my favorites among the papers that I handled as an editor at JoLE. It is cooler than the abstract makes it sound because the abstract does not give a clear sense of the unusual but compelling institutions that provide the foundation for the findings.

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