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CGU/Pomona Economics Seminar: Alessandra Cassar, PhD “The Competitive Woman.”

The Division of Politics & Economics invites the CGU community to attend this week’s CGU/Pomona Economics Seminar featuring Alessandra Cassar, PhD of UCSF. Lunch will be provided.

Talk Title:
The Competitive Woman.

Talk Description:
Why are there so few women in top earning position and why are they paid less than men? In addition to established human capital and discrimination explanations, economists are pointing to a large body of experimental evidence suggesting that women have a lower desire to compete than men. Here we advance the hypothesis that the estimated gender differences critically depend on how we elicit such preferences, especially on the incentives used in the experiments. While cash is the standard method of subject payment, we remark that it is also culturally loaded as the traditional object of male-male competition in many societies. We test this hypothesis through a series of experiments in China, Colombia, Bosnia and Togo. Our data on parents show that, once the incentives are switched from monetary to child-benefitting, gender differences disappear. Cultural elements in each society matter. Competitiveness is higher among displaced women in Colombia and women in polygyny arrangements in Togo. This result suggests that female competition can be just as intense as male competition given the right goals, indicating important implications for policies designed to promote gender equality: a change in the workplace incentive structure and conditions could induce more women to enter workplace competitions.

Please visit our website to view all talks in this series.