This paper addresses the behavioral puzzle of women's preference for competition when competitors are also women. Using a framed field experiment with 883 non-standard subjects, we show that none of the determinants of competitive behavior in general, including ability, self-confidence and risk aversion, provide a satisfying explanation for women's substantive gender-related selection into competition. Nonetheless, women who are overconfident, i.e. over-estimate own abilities in performing a task, enter competition regardless of the gender-mix. Hence, the gender-pairing phenomenon is driven by women who correctly estimate or under-estimate own ability. We concluded that this is due to stereotypes about women's underperformance compared to men.
preferences for competition gender group composition self-confidence