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Gender differences in competitiveness and risk taking: comparing children in Colombia and Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, ISSN 0167-2681, Vol. 83, no 1, 11-23 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We explore gender differences in preferences for competition and risk among children aged 9-12 in Colombia and Sweden, two countries differing in gender equality according to macro indices. We include four types of tasks that vary in gender stereotyping when looking at competitiveness: running, skipping rope, math and word search. We find that boys and girls are equally competitive in all tasks and all measures in Colombia. Unlike the consistent results in Colombia, the results in Sweden are mixed, with some indication of girls being more competitive than boys in some tasks in terms of performance change, whereas boys are more likely to choose to compete in general. Boys in both countries are more risk taking than girls, with a smaller gender gap in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 83, no 1, 11-23 p.
Keyword [en]
Competitiveness, Risk preferences, Children, Gender differences, Experiment
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81712DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.06.008ISI: 000306863500002OAI: diva2:563780


Available from: 2012-10-31 Created: 2012-10-30 Last updated: 2013-03-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Understanding unequal outcomes: Studies on gender, social status and foreignness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding unequal outcomes: Studies on gender, social status and foreignness
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In economics there are two main domains of explanation for understanding unequal outcomes. The first considers differences in individual preferences, while the second concerns differences in how individuals are treated.

Part I of the thesis comprises four articles pertaining to the first explanation. The main focus of these articles is gender differences in preference. The behaviors studied therein are risk preferences, competitiveness, altruism and cooperativeness. The first study finds no gender differences in performance under a competitive setting, across tasks with varying gender stereotyping. In the second study we find the gender gap in choosing to compete to be present only in the mathematical and not the verbal domain among adolescents. Moreover, its presence can largely be accounted for by other factors, such as performance beliefs. The third and fourth study compares children in Colombia and Sweden. In this sample there are no gender differences in Colombia, but in Sweden boys choose to compete more than girls. In risk-aversion however we find the gender gap to be larger in Colombia. Girls compared to boys also seem to be less cooperative in Colombia, whereas we find the opposite in Sweden.

Part II comprises two articles relating to how individuals are treated by others. The first article explores how social status influences third party punishment. Punishment decisions made by male third parties in response to a norm violation are in this study found to be affected by both the social status and the gender of the judged individual. The second article investigates how transient anonymity interacts with discrimination in online markets. The results show buyer discrimination in the feedback system against male sellers with foreign-sounding names. This discrimination only occurs when sellers are anonymous; that is, if they chose not to reveal their name in their username. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, 2013. 177 p.
Dissertations in Economics, ISSN 1404-3491 ; 2013:3
individual preferences, discrimination, gender, status, foreignness
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88180 (URN)978-91-7447-658-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-04-24, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-04-02 Created: 2013-03-08 Last updated: 2013-03-31Bibliographically approved

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von Essen, Emma
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