NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Alexandra H. Yestrumskas

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Working Papers

April 2008Gender Differences in Seeking Challenges: The Role of Institutions
with Muriel Niederle: w13922
We examine whether women and men of the same ability differ in their decisions to seek challenges. In the laboratory, we create an environment in which we can measure a participants performance level (high or low), where a high performance level participant has on average higher earnings from solving a hard rather than an easy task, and vice versa. After we identify each participant's performance level, they choose the difficulty level (easy or hard) for the next two tasks (only one of which will be chosen for payment). Although there are no gender differences in performance, or beliefs about relative performance, men choose the hard task about 50 percent more frequently than women, independent of performance level. Gender differences in preferences for characteristics of the tasks cannot ...

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