Are Women Status-Ranking Averse?

Abstract

Competition involves two dimensions, rivalry for resources and social-status ranking. In our experiment we exclude the first dimension and investigate gender differences in the preference for status ranking. Participants perform a task under non-rivalry incentives. Before doing so, individuals indicate whether they prefer to do the task in an environment with social-status ranking or one without, knowing whether or not the choice will be imposed upon the whole group (as opposed to being personal) and whether the ranking will be done by a man or a woman. We find no gender difference in mean status-ranking aversion when the ranking is personal. When the ranking is imposed, there are still no gender differences in the preferences for social ranking when the ranker is a women, and women are not affected by the ranker’s gender. With a male ranker, however, men have a much stronger desire to be ranked than with a female ranker.