Honors Students' Abstracts
Gender Differences in Competition Attitudes: A Developed Country Phenomenon?
A recent field of literature suggests that men are more competitive than women in patriarchal societies, as shown in decision experiments. The main results from this field of literature are based on experiments performed with college students in the United States. This paper relies on the same type of subjects (college students) but in the context of a developing country. In this paper we present the results from a decision experiment run in southern India with the support of an Honors Summer Research Grant. The experiment was setup akin to Niederle & Vesterlund (2007), where participants engage in a gender-neutral addition task for several rounds and make decisions based on payment preferences. We examine how competitiveness is affected by confidence levels, risk as measured by the Dave et al. 2010 task, personality characteristics, as well as various demographic information. We confirm the typical gender differences in risk attitudes with males making more risky choices than females, but risk attitudes are not related to choices of payment schemes. Contrary to previous results, most of the typical differences between male and female behavior do not emerge. This work is important because it looks specifically at college students in a developing country and the trends seen in the United States are not replicated. This finding suggests that the gender gap in competitive preferences may not be present for all educated people and that it may depend largely on the type of environment in which the subjects live.