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Competing for the benefit of offspring eliminates the gender gap in competitiveness

Authors Cassar, Alessandra
Wordofa, Feven
Zhang, Jane Y.Q. View this author's profile
Issue Date 2016
Source Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , v. 113, (19), May 2016, p. 5201-5205
Summary Recent advances have highlighted the evolutionary significance of female competition, with the sexes pursuing different competitive strategies and women reserving their most intense competitive behaviors for the benefit of offspring. Influential economic experiments using cash incentives, however, have found evidence suggesting that women have a lower desire to compete than men. We hypothesize that the estimated gender differences critically depend on how we elicit them, especially on the incentives used. We test this hypothesis through an experiment with adults in China (n = 358). Data show that, once the incentives are switched from monetary to child-benefitting, gender differences disappear. This result suggests that female competition can be just as intense as male competition given the right goals, indicating important implications for policies designed to promote gender equality.
ISSN 0027-8424
Language English
Format Article
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