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Nina Serdarevic: Choosing competition on behalf of someone else

Nina Serarevic


Nina Serdarevic, assistant professor at the UiB Department of Economics, will give a 20 minute presentation titled "Choosing competition on behalf of someone else"

Abstract: We extend the existing literature on gender differences in competitive behaviour by investigating environments in which the choice to compete is not made by an individual themselves, but by someone else. In a laboratory experiment, we assign subjects either the role of an agent or a principal. Agents perform a real effort task while a randomly assigned principal chooses whether the agent performs under a piece-rate or tournament incentive scheme. Before choosing for their agent, we vary whether the principal is informed about the agent's gender or not. This paper's main contribution lies in showing that the gender difference in willingness to compete does not translate to choosing for others. In particular, more women compete when the decision to enter the tournament is made by someone else. An analysis of potential explanations shows that principals' choices are determined by their own preferences for risk and competitiveness as well as how well they think their agent performed in the tournament. Finally, eliminating the gender gap in tournament entry comes at the cost of less payoff maximising decisions being made when principals decide. Whereas overall tournament performance is unaffected, being made to compete results in lower performance among winners in our setting.

Follow this link to the presentation on Zoom.