Women are not men, as we firmly established in a podcast earlier this year. A new working paper (abstract; PDF) by economists Peter J. Kuhn and Marie-Claire Villeval suggests one more difference between the sexes — women may be more drawn to cooperation. Here’s the abstract:
We conduct a real-effort experiment where participants choose between individual compensation and team-based pay. In contrast to tournaments, which are often avoided by women, we find that women choose team-based pay at least as frequently as men in all our treatments and conditions, and significantly more often than men in a well-defined subset of those cases. Key factors explaining gender patterns in attraction to co-operative incentives across experimental conditions include women’s more optimistic assessments of their prospective teammate’s ability and men’s greater responsiveness to efficiency gains associated with team production. Women also respond differently to alternative rules for team formation in a manner that is consistent with stronger inequity aversion.