NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Christopher Cotton

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Working Papers

August 2014Affirmative Action and Human Capital Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment
with Brent R. Hickman, Joseph P. Price: w20397
The empirical literature on Affirmative Action (AA) in college admissions tends to ignore the effects admissions policies have on incentives of students to invest developing pre-college human capital. We explore the incentive effects of AA using a field experiment that creates a microcosm of the college admissions market. Our experimental design is based on the asymmetric, multi-object, all-pay auction framework in Bodoh-Creed and Hickman (2014). We pay 5th through 8th grade students based on their performance on a national mathematics exam relative to other competitor students, and observe the use of a study website as students prepare for the exam. An AA treatment favors "disadvantaged" students by reserving prizes for lower grade students who on average have less mathematics training ...
October 2010The Gender Gap Cracks Under Pressure: A Detailed Look at Male and Female Performance Differences During Competitions
with Frank McIntyre, Joseph Price: w16436
Using data from multiple-period math competitions, we show that males outperform females of similar ability during the first period. However, the male advantage is not found in any subsequent period of competition, or even after a two-week break from competition. Some evidence suggests that males may actually perform worse than females in later periods. The analysis considers various experimental treatments and finds that the existence of gender differences depends crucially on the design of the competition and the task at hand. Even when the male advantage does exist, it does not persist beyond the initial period of competition.

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