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Gender, Competitiveness and Career Choices

Speaker  Muriel Niederle

Affiliation  Stanford

Host  Markus Mobius

Duration  01:30:35

Date recorded  22 August 2012

Gender differences in competitiveness are often discussed as potential explanation for gender differences in labor market outcomes. We correlate an incentivized measure of competitiveness with the first important career choice of secondary school students in the Netherlands. At the age of 15, these students have to pick one out of four study profiles, which vary in how prestigious they are. While boys and girls have very similar levels of academic ability, boys are substantially more likely than girls to choose more prestigious profiles. We find that 25% of this gender difference can be attributed to gender differences in competitiveness. This lends support to the extrapolation of laboratory findings on competitiveness to labor market settings. Joint work with Hessel Oosterbeek and Thomas Buser.

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