Discussion paper

DP6891 Performance Gender-Gap: Does Competition Matter?

Using data from a natural experiment with high payoffs in education, we examine whether the competitive nature of tournament structure explains the performance gender-gap. We find that performance is statistically lower for women, the variance of performance is higher for men, and the tails of the performance distribution are significantly fatter for men. For the same participants in non-competitive settings with similar academic content, the performance of women first-order-stochastically dominates that of men. We reject differences in risk aversion and ability as reasons for performance gender-gap.


Palomino, F, E Peyrache and E ÖRS (2008), ‘DP6891 Performance Gender-Gap: Does Competition Matter?‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 6891. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp6891