DP7059 Gender Gap in Performance under Competitive Pressure

Author(s): Stepan Jurajda, Daniel Münich
Publication Date: November 2008
Keyword(s): Admissions, Competition, Gender Gap in Performance, Test Anxiety
JEL(s): I29, J16
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7059

Do women perform worse than equally able men in stressful competitive settings? We ask this question for competitions with a high payoff---admissions to tuition-free selective universities. With data on an entire cohort of Czech students graduating from secondary schools and applying to universities, we show that, compared to men of similar general skills and subject-of-study preferences, women do not shy away from applying to more competitive programs and perform similarly well when competition is less intense, but perform substantially worse (are less likely to be admitted) when applying to very selective universities.