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Gender Differences for Public Good Contributions by Competitive versus Group Work Environments

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Abstract: Using a between-subjects design, this experiment compared the effect of competitive and cooperative work in the lab on subsequent public good investments with third parties. Individuals assigned to treatments where pay was determined by group output contributed more on average than individuals in tournament competitions, but this difference was driven by females contributing less after competitive tasks than after group pay tasks. When participants were given a choice between piece rate, competition, or group pay, females who chose group pay gave the most in the public good task. Females choices were more predictive of contributions than were male choices. These results hold after controlling for actual pay. We use these results to argue that the link between compensation at work and altruism is higher for women than for men.

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