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Barcelona GSE Working Paper No. 583

Title: Let's (Not) Talk about Sex: The Effect of Information Provision on Gender Differences in Performance under Competition
Authors: Nagore Iriberri, Pedro Rey-Biel
Date: 13-09-2011
Keywords: gender differences, competition, feedback information, gender perception, stereotype-threat
JEL Codes: C72, C91, D81
We study how gender differences in performance under competition are affected by the provision of information regarding rival’s gender and/or differences in relative ability. In a laboratory experiment, we use two tasks that differ regarding perceptions about which gender outperforms the other. We observe women’s underperformance only under two conditions: 1) tasks are perceived as favoring men and 2) rivals’ gender is explicitly mentioned. This result can be explained by stereotype-threat being reinforced when explicitly mentioning gender in tasks in which women already consider they are inferior. Omitting information about gender is a safe alternative to avoid women’s underperformance in competition.
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