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Competition and Gender Inequality: A comprehensive analysis of effects and mechanisms
This study provides a comprehensive analysis of gender differences in performance caused by two different dimensions of competition –rivalry for resources and status ranking. It also examines two mechanisms behind such differences: (1) gendered beliefs about performance differences in competitiveness; and (2) prescriptive stereotypes about women having to show warmth towards others. The results indicate that in the absence of any competitive dimension men and women perform equally well. Any competitive dimension, however, leads to women doing worse than men. These results are explained by men’s beliefs that they are better than women, and by women’s adherence to a prescribed stereotype of not harming others. Gender differences under competition seem to be endogenous to situational contexts, just like they are without competition.
Klarita Gërxhani is Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. Her main research interests relate to micro-foundations of economic sociology, institutional theory, social norms, labor market organizations, social status and gender inequalities, social capital, informal economies and tax evasion. Her research is interdisciplinary, combining laboratory, field and vignette experiments with field surveys and economic-sociological theory. She is the author of many articles published in internationally peer-reviewed journals in economics and sociology, including Harvard Business Review, Journal of Political Economy, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Networks, European Sociological Review, Experimental Economics, etc.
*Joint work with Jordi Brandts (Barcelona School of Economics) and Arthur Schram (Amsterdam School of Economics)