SPI Working Paper Series

WP #: 137

Date: Apr 2015


Other Sources


SPI Funded Paper

A University-Wide Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job Entry Decisions

    Anya Savikhin Samek

    University of Wisconsin-Madison

The gender difference in competitiveness has been cited as an important factor driving the gender gap in labor market outcomes. Using a natural field experiment with 35,000 university students, I explore the impact of compensation scheme on willingness to apply for a job. I find that competitive compensation schemes disproportionately deter women from applying, which cannot be explained by differences in risk preferences alone. I also vary whether the job is introduced as helping a non-profit, which increases application rates, suggesting a role for social preferences in application decisions. Finally, I observe a correlation between competitiveness preferences and career choice.