Brave boys and play-it-safe girls: Gender differences in willingness to guess in a large scale natural field experiment

Nagore Iriberri, Pedro Rey-Biel

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Multiple-choice tests are extensively used to measure individuals’ knowledge and aptitudes. We study gender differences in willingness to guess using approximately 10,000 multiple-choice math tests, where, for all participants, in half of the questions, omitted answers were rewarded while for the other half they scored the same as wrong answers. Using a within-participant regression analysis, we show that female participants leave significantly more omitted questions than males when there is a reward for omitted questions. This gender difference, which is stronger among high ability and older participants, hurts female performance as measured by the final score and position in the ranking. We conclude that it is important to use gender neutral scoring rules that do not differentiate between wrong answers and omitted questions in order to accurately measure individuals’ knowledge and aptitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103603
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Volume131
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Confidence
  • Gender differences
  • Natural field experiment
  • Perceived ability in math
  • Risk preferences
  • Willingness to guess

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